Top council managers to reapply for jobs

By John Cousins

The major restructuring of Tauranga City Council has led to its top-tier managers being forced to reapply for their jobs.

Uncertainty about the futures of four group managers and one other senior manager has been revealed by an advertisement for staff.

It coincided with the final stages in the recruitment process under way by Mayor Stuart Crosby and councillors to find a new chief executive.

Interviews for the CEO begin next week and Mr Crosby expected an appointment would be made in February.

The appointment of the group managers would be made by the new CEO and they in turn would have a role in deciding the next hierarchy of management, he said.

Asked if it was demoralising time for managers, Mr Crosby said: "It is obviously a difficult period for staff, absolutely ... it is an incredibly difficult time for large numbers of people in the organisation."

However, he said staff had been very professional and kept the organisation running at a high standard.

Mr Crosby explained that jobs had to go out to the market where there was a 25 per cent or more change in the job description which was standard practice in large organisations. "The rationale is that the skills required for the job may change," he said.

The present top-tier of management was customer and environmental services manager Peter Frawley, city directions manager and assistant CEO Christine Jones, city services manager Ian McDonald and business services manager Dean Riley.

Mr Riley's job has been split in two to create a new group manager for organisational services and a lower level job for an information and technology manager.

Mr Frawley's job has been restructured into the general manager for community and environmental services while Ms Jones' position becomes the general manager strategy. Mr McDonald's job has been restructured into general manager infrastructure services. The two remaining advertisements for third-tier staff were for a chief financial officer and a communications manager.

The chief financial officer was a restructured version of the financial controller's job held by Paul Davidson while the communications manager's job was open following the resignation of Elizabeth Hughes last year.

One of the new positions created by the reorganisation was an adviser to the CEO, although whether it was filled would be at the discretion of the new chief executive.

The council's reorganisation was launched by former CEO Ken Paterson who was only in the job for 11 months before he died in his sleep last June. Rather than wait six months for the recruitment process to deliver a new CEO, the council employed Leigh Auton as an interim CEO on a fixed-term contract to lead the restructure.

The restructuring was having a ripple-down effect.

Mr Crosby said some staff would be transferred to other sections of the council.

He said the restructuring had been in gestation for a year and was "very unsettling" for staff.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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