Craig Niemann to be reappointed CEO of City of Greater Bendigo after $50,000 recruitment process

Craig Niemann will remain the CEO of the City of Greater Bendigo - barring a revolt by the majority of councillors. Picture: DARREN HOWE
Craig Niemann will remain the CEO of the City of Greater Bendigo - barring a revolt by the majority of councillors. Picture: DARREN HOWE

CRAIG Niemann will retain his position as chief executive officer of the City of Greater Bendigo for the next five years after the council announced he had been provisionally reappointed.

The announcement was made on Monday morning, and the decision needs to be formalised at the December 13 council meeting.

The council went through a four-month recruitment process costing $50,000, in which Mr Niemann was required to re-apply for the CEO position he has held for 10 years.

Below: Craig Niemann speaks about his re-appointment as council CEO:

He faced a panel of councillors during the recruitment process, which examined close to 50 candidates for the role from interstate and overseas.

Related: Council plans to advertise CEO position

He will now be locked in to the position for another five years – barring a revolt from the majority of councillors.

Mr Niemann said he felt “a lot of anxiety” about going through the process, but he never really considered stepping away from the role.

“I had a long hard think about why, and why wouldn’t I want to go somewhere else,” he said.

“I kept coming back to: I love this place, I love the people, I love what we do and the people we work with, I love the organisation.

“I still think I can add a lot of value to the council.”

Related: Recruiters handle top council job

The council voted to advertise the top job in August. Three councillors were reportedly in favour of reappointing Mr Niemann, while three were firm in advertising the role, and managed to persuade other councillors.

The CEO position attracts an annual salary of up to $339,999 and will involve the implementation of a number of key strategies in the coming years, including Plan Greater Bendigo, Greater Bendigo Residential Strategy and transport, youth and environment strategies.

In 2012, the position was not advertised externally.

Mr Niemann said there was some uncertainty during the period, but he was proud that council staff were able to get on with the job in the meantime.

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said it was a “rigorous recruitment process” and there was no suggestion that Mr Niemann would be the likely successful candidate.

“Was the expectation that it would be Craig at the end of it? No, because everyone went into that very openly. We were after the right CEO for the City of Greater Bendigo,” she said.

“There’s no doubt all councillors were asked at various times the question - why is council doing this? I think it’s about that competitive edge, it’s about making sure that we have the right person, it was certainly very rigorous.

“Councillors were very strong about wanting to test the market. When someone has been in a job for 10 years it’s making sure you have got the right person, and the best person.”