More than a dozen residents gathered outside the Gore District Council building last week to protest councillors’ plans to appoint departing chief executive Stephen Parry in an interim role.

The council last month voted 9-3 to offer Mr Parry the role while it looks for a new chief executive.

Mr Parry resigned in September and was due to finish at the end of October.

Two weeks ago, Gore District Citizen Action Group co-ordinator Hayden McIntyre released a statement saying the group had organised a petition to seek the immediate removal of Mr Parry.

The protest was organised by the group last week to take place half an hour before an extraordinary incommittee council meeting to update councillors on the appointment of an interim chief executive.

Protestors heckled councillors who walked in the main entrance of the council administration building.

While Mr McIntyre could not be at the protest, Jack McIntyre, his cousin, was appointed to speak on behalf of the group.

At the request of Gore district acting mayor Keith Hovell, Jack McIntyre met Mr Hovell to discuss the group’s concerns.

Mr Hovell gave him the impression Mr Parry would be appointed anyway, Mr McIntyre said.

The protesters did not want to see Mr Parry retained because of ‘‘past behaviour and clashes with the public’’.

‘‘How long are we going to have to put up with him then?

‘‘Who says they will find what they want in six months?’’

Part of the problem was the ‘‘rumour mill’’ and the stories that circulated about Mr Parry in the community.

‘‘I can’t say who’s right and who’s wrong because we don’t know.’’

The petition had more than 100 signatures, he said.

A previous petition calling for the resignation of Mr Parry was presented to the council in June but was not accepted.

The council will advertise for a new chief executive this week.

A statement released after the meeting said councillors and the senior management team met recruitment agency Brannigans to talk about the process and timeline to find a new chief executive.

Mr Hovell said the council was looking forward to starting the recruitment process.

The council hoped to interview potential candidates early in the new year, he said.

Councillors also unanimously approved, in principle, key components of an agreement that will result in Mr Parry staying on as interim chief executive.