Friday, June 21, 2024

Mackay council CEO resigns to face cancer battle

Mackay Regional Council CEO, Michael Thomson, has resigned to focus on his cancer battle, the Council revealed today.

Mr Thomson, 52, told the Council the decision was made in the “best interests of council” and his family.

He has been on leave since being diagnosed with bowel cancer about three months ago and has made the difficult decision to not return to the job.

“I have made this tough decision in the best interests of the organisation and my family,’’ Mr Thomson said.

“After being diagnosed, I had urgent surgery and then embarked on a treatment regime, including chemotherapy,’’ he said.

“I have reached the third month of that treatment and my latest scans show positive signs. I also feel quite well within myself, both physically and emotionally.

“However, I am also aware that my cancer journey will have many ups and downs. Although I feel well enough to return to work now, I am cognisant there will likely be some tough days ahead.

“Weighing up the disruption my treatment could have on Mackay Regional Council at a crucial time, embarking on a new budget with a new Corporate Plan, I have decided the best option is for me to leave the organisation.

“It will also allow me more time to focus on my treatment and my family, which is extremely important to me.

“Although my diagnosis has been scary and daunting for me, I know how harrowing it is for my loved ones, especially my children.

“Telling your kids you have cancer is without doubt one of the toughest things you can do in life. The emotional toll my diagnosis and treatment are having on them weighs heavily on my mind.”

Mr Thomson said resigning had been an extremely tough decision as he had absolutely “loved his time with council”.

He said he was proud of achievements he had helped lead at council, including a Values refresh, leadership training and a new Corporate Plan.

“I am comforted by knowing I leave the organisation in safe hands.”

Mr Thomson’s resignation takes effect immediately, with council starting the recruitment process.

Acting CEO, Angela Hays’ secondment to the role has been extended for another three months.

Mayor Greg Williamson paid tribute to Mr Thomson’s time with council and his difficult decision to leave the organisation.

“Michael achieved a lot of change since joining council as CEO in August 2020 and I know he would have liked to stay on to see a lot of those initiatives through to fruition,’’ he said.

“The fact he does not want to disrupt the organisation during his health battle is a testament to the value he puts on the role.

“We respect his decision and his desire to focus on his health battle and spend time with family.”

Ms Hays also wished Michael well for the future and thanked the mayor and councillors and council’s leadership team for their support.

“It is an extremely busy time at council, leading into a new budget, and everyone has stepped up to help during Michael’s absence,’’ she said.

Mr Thomson said his cancer battle was a stark reminder for council staff and the community in general about the importance of regular health screenings.

“Please do not take your health for granted. Be proactive to give yourself every chance of avoiding a shock diagnosis.”

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