Council CEO to step down after 20 years

By Doug Laing

Long-serving Napier City Council chief executive Neil Taylor has announced his retirement after 20 years in the job.

Mr Taylor said the announcement comes with no departure date, other than the obvious - he turns 65 next year.

He hasn't thought yet about reflecting too much on the years as one of five who've held the office of chief executive or town clerk for more than 20 years each, and says he wants the council and staff to have time to find a replacement, transition and adapt to change.

While envisaging relinquishing the reins coinciding with the departure of Mayor Barbara Arnott at this year's local body election, he and wife Wendy are not leaving Napier, and he says he's prepared to stay around the building as long as the council wants, if he's needed to help see the change through.

Mr Taylor joined the council new to town as deputy city planner in 1982 and it was in the tenure of Mayor Alan Dick in 1993 that he was appointed to replace Trevor Bates, who had been in the CEO role just three years.

The initial appointment was for five years, but Mr Taylor had become a popular staff leader.

One senior staff member said yesterday that while expected "sooner or later" the announcement to staff on Thursday was a surprise.

She could not recall a day "not wanting to come to work", and neither could the boss, even on a day like yesterday when he was "literally running from meeting to meeting".

In a moment, perhaps off guard considering he will reflect at length later, Mr Taylor said he enjoyed working with the people of the city, although a small number were "frustrating". "But as a country," he said, "we put a lot of time into addressing the negative, which is one of the good things, we do address them."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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