Northern Grampians Shire Council will be searching for a new chief executive officer, following the appointment of Justine Linley to the CEO role at the Ballarat City Council.
Mrs Linleys appointment was ratified at a special meeting on Wednesday night. She will start her new role in May.
Mrs Linley said the role would be challenging, but very rewarding.
I feel humbled and I feel challenged, but absolutely ready for the step up, she said.
Mrs Linley said she had thoroughly enjoyed her time in Stawell and the Northern Grampians and would by no means become a stranger to the area. She will maintain roles on various regional boards, including being deputy chair of the Grampians Regional Development Australia committee.
I will still be around Stawell quite a bit, she said.
There will still be things I will stay involved with like the Music Festival in Halls Gap. I am determined that will happen. Also as deputy chair of the Grampians Regional Development Australia committee, I will be making sure things like the Grampians Peaks Trail get up, along with the duplication of the Western Highway.
Mrs Linley said she had been overwhelmed by her experiences since joining the Northern Grampians Shire Council in 2003.
The experiences I have had have really built a skills base for me to even be a candidate for the Ballarat position, she said.
I cant express enough how important the opportunities I was given from the Northern Grampians Shire have been. Councillors, the staff and the community have been so supportive. It is such a go-getting, positive place to be. The people here have shown that if you are willing to have a go, they will back you.
Mrs Linley said this had been proven by the many success stories to have emerged from the Northern Grampians, including Jim Nolan who is now CEO of the Pyrenees Shire.
My biggest endorsement for the Northern Grampians Shire is that it is a wonderful breeding ground for people who go on and do broader things with their lives and their careers, she said.
I have loved my time here and felt incredible support along the way. Without that boost in confidence, I wouldnt have even considered going for a job like Ballarat.
Mayor Murray Emerson said Mrs Linley would be sorely missed by all at the council.
However, he endorsed her decision to move on, saying it was in her best interests.
We are very disappointed Mrs Linley is leaving us, he said.
Justine has been an outstanding CEO and especially in my role as mayor, I will miss her guidance and her friendship.
However, from the councils point of view, Justine is taking on the role as CEO at Ballarat for all the right reasons; a promotion, family, development all the rights reasons.
Of course we all wish her the best of luck and all the best for her future.
Cr Emerson said he looked forward to still catching up with Mrs Linley in her various regional roles.
I have no doubt along the way we will be seeing Justine at various meetings and Im sure she will be expanding her knowledge at these meetings as she has done with us, he said.
Our loss will most certainly be Ballarats gain.
Cr Emerson said the Northern Grampians Shire had certainly blossomed under Mrs Linleys leadership.
After eight years in that position, Justine has seen this shire progress to be acknowledged as one of the leading smaller rural shires, he said.
You only have to look at what has been created in the last few years; the underground physics laboratory, abattoir expansions, Grampians Peaks Trail and the hydroponics facility, to realise how important she has been to us.
Council will start the process of finding a replacement for Mrs Linley immediately, with the hope of having a new CEO in place by the end of July. Mrs Linley will officially start her new role at Ballarat on May 23.