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Shire of Wagin CEO Bill Atkinson to retire from local government as council starts hunt for replacement

Another Great Southern council is on the lookout for a new chief executive, with a veteran public servant set to retire.

Shire of Wagin chief executive Bill Atkinson will retire on September 30, bringing to an end four decades of service in local government.

Mr Atkinson said he had timed his departure to enable a smooth transition for the new chief executive.

“It is a fairly critical time right now with the budget and rates decisions, so I have extended my tenure to ensure they are completed before the handover,” he said.

Shire of Wagin councillors voted on June 28 to promote acting deputy chief executive Ian McCabe to acting chief executive from October 1.

He will serve in that position for six months unless a permanent replacement is found earlier.

Mr Atkinson became chief executive in late 2020.

He said it had been an interesting couple of years to be at the helm of the shire.

“We have had COVID coupled with the floods here last year, and we have also faced staffing shortages,” Mr Atkinson said.

Asked what he would like to achieve before leaving, Mr Atkinson said he was interested in the council’s financial deliberations, as well as the procurement of a new GP provider.

He also wants to continue building on the Wagin oral history project.

“I would like to see the project eventually expanded to those aged 60 and over,” Mr Atkinson said.

“Wagin has got a lot of history and we are quite fortunate that a lot of our residents retire here rather than going to Perth or towards the coast.”

Mr Atkinson said he was looking forward to his “second go” at retirement.

“I tried it but I wasn’t ready,” he said.

“I am looking forward to it and having a bit less screen time and a bit more gardening time.”

Before joining the Shire of Wagin, Mr Atkinson was chief executive of the shires of Trayning, Capel, Dalwallinu, Sandstone and Carnamah.

His retirement comes after the Shire of Gnowangerup last month voted to start to look for a new chief executive with the upcoming resignation of Bob Jarvis on September 30.

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