A former Mount Gambier woman has been appointed as Mount Gambier City Council’s new chief executive officer.
Sarah Philpott (pictured) grew up in the Blue Lake city and returns with more than 15 years of executive leadership experience within state and local government sectors.
Ms Philpott is the current Mildura Rural City Council chief executive, a role she took on in August 2019.
“I have really enjoyed my time as CEO of Mildura Rural City Council, a large regional council of 22,000 square kilometres and 55,000 people. I have been privileged to lead the organisation comprised of around 500 employees and with an operating budget of $116m per year,” she said.
During her tenure, Ms Philpott has been part of the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct.
“This project has many parallels with Mount Gambier’s Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre. Delivery of such a large project in a regional community has many complexities and I am looking forward to being part of progressing this exciting development,” she said.
Before her appointment as Mildura Council’s chief executive, Ms Philpott undertook senior executive roles in community and city development and corporate services portfolios in metropolitan Adelaide at Port Adelaide Enfield Council and City of Marion and in Queensland at Cairns Regional Council.
“I have worked across many areas of local government services over the years, including urban planning and design, asset management, economic development, community development, health, well-being and safety, libraries, theatres, cultural centres and the arts, environmental planning and projects and major project delivery and implementation,” Ms Philpott said.
“I actually had my start in local government at the City of Mount Gambier back in 1992 as a records officer and then as chief librarian until 2000.
“Therefore, I am pleased to be making my way back home to use my skillset in the role of CEO and I hope to positively impact the quality of life of Mount Gambier residents, local businesses and visitors.”
In addition, Ms Philpott also has experience in the justice sector in a previous position as Higher Courts Services Director at the Courts Administration Authority.
Ms Philpott has undergraduate qualifications in library and information management and postgraduate qualifications in business administration, organisational change and a Masters degree in Social Sciences.
During her career, Ms Philpott has been responsible for leading large teams and for organisational performance and culture change. She places a strong emphasis on the importance of strategic direction, good governance and financial management to ensure that council is able to make a difference in the community.
“It is critical to have a strong governance focus to ensure accountability of the use of public funds and to support a high functioning council to make sound decisions,” she said.
“I also feel it is vitally important for council to think about the community in every decision that is made. I look forward to building on the strengths of the organisation as a whole and I’m particularly conscious that I am personally adding value to the organisation and the community.”
Mayor Lynette Martin said Ms Philpott was passionate about local government and highly regarded within the sector.
“With such vast experience Sarah is skilled in stakeholder engagement, project management and delivery, economic development, financial management, governance and community infrastructure services and strategy,” Mayor Martin said.
“We look forward to welcoming Sarah back to her hometown of Mount Gambier to lead the organisation as CEO.”
Ms Philpott and her husband will move to Mount Gambier in June.
The appointment follows the resignation of former chief executive Andrew Meddle who returned to Murray Bridge in November 2020 after accepting a position with the Department of Environment and Water as Landscape Board General Manager, Murraylands and Riverland.
Acting CEO Barbara Cernovskis will continue in the role until Ms Philpott starts on June 15.