Warrnambool City Council's interim chief Gary Gaffney could be in the role for up to six months depending on an imminent Supreme Court judgement involving the council's former CEO Peter Schneider.
Mr Gaffney started in the role on Tuesday last week and told The Standard he had signed a contract to do the top job for between two and six months.
"We were trying to be realistic about it; my role is to come in to help the council through this situation," he said.
Previous councillors sacked Mr Schneider in a 4-3 vote in July last year. Mr Schneider has since sued the council in the Supreme Court in a bid to get his job back.
Justice Michael McDonald is expected to hand down a judgement on the case by June 26.
Mr Gaffney said his role was to lead the council until the judgement occurred and then to work through its implications.
"The agreement is I will drop out of the role once I onboard or assist in that transition," he said.
"Whatever the judgement is we are going to have to work off it and then make recommendations.
"This council might need to make some tough decisions that they may not have expected to make when they were elected."
Mr Gaffney has been a chief executive at various councils and government bodies, most recently the East Gippsland Shire, and said he was settling into Warrnambool.
"It has been a bit of a voyage of discovery," he said. "One of the things I do is get out and about and walk. I ask the councillors where some of the issues are and go out and have a look at them."
In his short appointment Mr Gaffney plans to focus on the upcoming council budget, capital works programs and improving training and development.
"There are major projects we need to keep up and going such as Reid Oval, and you have a strategic plan 2040 that needs to have council do a review of and there are areas like the saleyards that we need to take a look at," he said.
"We may be looking at the federal government going to an election period this year ... so let's get some major projects briefed and ready."
Mr Gaffney said the council would be assessing how eligible businesses could benefit from new coronavirus support packages announced this week. He also plans to turn officers' minds to brainstorming new events the city could host.
He said the city had a bright future but managing growth could also be the council's biggest challenge.
"Being able to keep up the facilities (is the challenge) ... there's a regional airport that has a (passenger) service that is no longer there and something I would be investigating is how to lengthen that runway to bring large capacity flights in," Mr Gaffney said.
"I believe you have a bright future ahead as a city."
Mr Gaffney ruled out applying for the CEO role permanently if offered the opportunity.
"I think I will try my third attempt at retiring," he said. "I have just bought myself a new Ducati Multistrada (motorbike)."
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