Brisbane City Council has quietly appointed a new chief to its public transport arm who has no experience in the transport sector.
Geoff Beck will hold the critical post of Brisbane Transport boss as the council moves into a State Government-imposed contestability process, in which it will fight private operators to retain its current operational responsibility of 70 per cent of the city's bus fleet.
The so-called "competitive contract process" is expected to commence next year and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has vowed to fight aggressively for the tender, something reaffirmed by finance chairman Julian Simmonds in the council chamber this week.
"We're in it to win it," Cr Simmonds said.
However, Opposition Leader Milton Dick has questioned Mr Beck's suitability for the lucrative role heading into the important process, a month after it emerged council's civic cabinet decided not to renew the contract of long-term Brisbane Transport head Alan Warren.
Mr Beck's immediate past role was as executive manager of the council's field services group, the department responsible for the city's footpaths and rubbish services, and prior to that as the acting divisional manager of Brisbane infrastructure, which makes his appointment an internal promotion.
"I'm concerned it appears someone who has no background in this portfolio is in charge," Cr Dick said.
"If we are going down the path of contestability and possible privatisation, we need, people in these roles with the strongest skill set relating to the portfolios."
But Cr Simmonds defended the appointment, saying Mr Beck was extremely well credentialed for the role.
"Geoff has been put in that role because he deserves that role, he has performed admirably in previous roles in field services and he absolutely has the skill base to do it," he said.
"He's not in there with an agenda but what he does have is an excellent rapport with the field workers of this organisation and he has a particular skill set in that regard, and we look forward to that continuing in that new role in Brisbane Transport."
Cr Simmonds said although Mr Beck would play a key role in the contestability process, it would ultimately be run by the Lord Mayor and his civic cabinet.
"Geoff Beck won't be wholly and solely running the contestability process, that will be the civic cabinet and we will be putting our best foot forward," he said.
"He will certainly play a role to ensure we are positioned well but the process will be owned by the broader organisation."
Mr Beck's role began on September 1 and was not publicly announced or scrutinised by the full council, reflecting again, Cr Dick said, the ongoing secrecy of appointment processes within the administration.
"Of course this was another secret appointment without any scrutiny," he said.
"If there is a new divisional manager, those reports should be forthcoming.
"If his role is to privatise Brisbane Transport to actually deliver contestability, we need to get that information and the commuters of Brisbane deserve to know exactly what the plans are for the future of public transport in our city.
"I certainly hope we aren't appointing people on ideological lines rather than the people with the best strategic experience."