THE man who led South Gippsland Shire Council as acting chief executive officer through its most turbulent period in 2019-20, Bryan Sword, has resigned.

Mr Sword said he was taking a break from his professional life to explore Australia and spend time with his young family.

He said there were too many highlights to list over a decade with council.

“But what excites me most is what can be achieved when the will, trust and resources of the community and council are combined,” he said.

“If I was to single out one highlight that embodies this, it would be working with the Korumburra Round Table (KRT). A broad and well represented community group that was established to provide direct feedback to council and help prioritise the implementation of the Korumburra Town Centre Framework Plan.

“The work of this group has played a significant role in what we see now, an unprecedented amount of public and private capital expenditure set aside ($100m-plus) to transform Korumburra over the next two to three years.”

And there have been challenges along the way.

“At a strategic level, the perpetual challenge for rural councils is maintaining financial sustainability to provide the desired and required community services from a small revenue base,” Mr Sword said.

“There is no better illustration than the example of metropolitan councils that derive more income from parking fees than South Gippsland is able to collect in rates. Yet South Gippsland has a much larger road network to maintain and services which are delivered over a much greater distance.”

However, Mr Sword will look back on his time with South Gippsland Shire Council with a measure of fondness and pride.

“[It’s] a positive experience that I will reflect fondly upon and be grateful for the various opportunities I’ve had along the way to serve and shape South Gippsland.

“The ultimate reflection might be in five to 10 years when, hopefully, those strategic developments that I’ve played a role in are completed and/or providing the intended economic and community benefits.”

Chief executive Kerryn Ellis paid tribute to Mr Sword who will finish up on Friday, February 12 after 10 years with council.

“Bryan started with South Gippsland in 2011, so is well into his 10th year with the organisation. In that time, he has made a huge contribution to council and to the South Gippsland community,” Ms Ellis said.

“With his breadth of skills and experience at a number of other local governments, he has played an invaluable role here at South Gippsland Shire Council.

“While Bryan has had a significant impact through his other roles at council, his period as acting CEO throughout 2019/20 was probably the most important. He had a steadying hand when council was at its lowest ebb. His efforts in keeping the organisation running and staff engaged in that difficult time cannot be overstated.”

Ms Ellis said Mr Sword left council with her very best wishes and she looked forward to seeing what he achieved in his next position.