Following a national recruitment campaign, three people have been appointed as ongoing administrators for the District Council of Coober Pedy (Council) in a move expected to fast track the road back to an elected member body.
Mr Geoff Sheridan has been appointed as the new principal administrator and will work with two supporting administrators, Ms Erika Vickery OAM and Mr John Moyle to make critical decisions for Coober Pedy’s future.
Mr Sheridan is a long-standing and highly regarded local government senior manager, most recently serving as CEO for the District Council of Elliston. He has extensive experience in delivering municipal services and budgets for regional councils and brings to the role invaluable knowledge of the South Australian local government system.
Supporting administrator Ms Vickery was previously Mayor of the Naracoorte Lucindale Council and is a current member of the South Australian Local Government Grants Commission. Mr Moyle, who was most recently the CEO of City of Tea Tree Gully, has expertise and experience providing essential services to large metropolitan councils.
Appointing more than one administrator, a first for South Australia, will provide the Coober Pedy community greater confidence in the actions and decisions being made to resolve long-standing issues.
The State Government is also providing financial support to the Council to assist with the costs of administration. The Council has been in administration for four years and while some improvements have been made, there is still significant work required to ensure the town can be locally governed.
The new administration will ensure that the Council’s municipal services are provided in a responsible and financially sustainable way. They will also work with a State Government taskforce to focus on the future of water, power and other essential service delivery in the town.
The administration period for the Council was extended in September 2022 until the next local government elections in 2026, though Minister for Local Government Geoff Brock would like to see an elected member body returned within two years if possible.
Minister Brock will visit Coober Pedy later this month alongside Mr Sheridan, Ms Vickery and Mr Moyle who begin their roles on 29 March 2023.
The administrators will replace the interim administrator Mr Colin Davies who was appointed on 2 February 2023.
Attributable to Geoff Brock
The ongoing issues in Coober Pedy are far too complex and significant to rely on a single administrator to resolve.
The appointment of three administrators is designed to enable the Council to be returned to an elected member body well before the 2026 council elections, ideally in two years’ time.
I made a commitment to the Coober Pedy community that the appointment process would be one that was thorough and public. I am happy to have found three outstanding appointments in Mr Sheridan, Ms Vickery and Mr Moyle as we look to find permanent fixes to the issues that placed the Council into administration in the first place.
I thank outgoing interim administrator Mr Colin Davies for stepping into this role to maintain business as usual while a national recruitment campaign was undertaken.
It is important to me that the Council remains in administration for not a minute longer than it needs to. The Coober Pedy community deserves a locally elected body that makes good and responsible decisions for its community - but the Council must be stable and financially sustainable before this can occur.
I’m looking forward to visiting Coober Pedy again later this month to meet with leaders and locals across the region so we can hit the ground running with a new administration to shape a thriving outback community.