Wellington mayor Andy Foster is bringing in a facilitator to help sort out his divided council as tensions boil over.
It's understood he wants Sue Wells, who is an experienced crisis manager and council governance consultant, to do the job.
To borrow a phrase the Finance Minister used to describe the state of the media, Wellington City Council is a patient with pre-existing conditions navigating the Covid-19 pandemic.
Foster does not have the numbers around his council table and is yet to show the ability to find them, despite attending a $30,000 leadership course at a luxury resort paid for from the ratepayers' purse last month.
Quite the hoo-ha was recently made of Foster losing to councillors on his idea to extend free parking in the CBD until at least June, amid Covid-19.
But this was not a rare defeat, rather more of the same.
Foster's leadership came into question during poo-gate, when he also experienced the full weight of the majority of his councillors moving against him.
The membership of his own mayoral taskforce into Wellington's water woes was drastically changed by councillors in the public setting of a full council meeting in February.
Those on the left bloc on council, who are sometimes referred to as the "Justin Lester Memorial Committee", have been criticised for not playing happily in the sandpit with the mayor, prompting calls to put party politics aside.
But six councillors on the Labour and Green Party tickets didn't end up around the table by mistake, Wellingtonians voted them in with the expectation those agendas would be followed through.
On the other hand, Foster garnered many votes simply because he wasn't Lester.
The problem is not so much that Foster and these councillors clash, it's that there appears to be no compromise happening behind the scenes, leaving the power play to be shown on Zoom to the public.
More than 700 people tuned into the council meeting where Foster lost on parking. The Covid-19 lockdown appears to have done wonders for engagement in local body politics.
The mayor is the leader of the city, and it's Foster's job to find common ground among his team members and go from there.
But it appears he has reached his wits' end, resorting to lashing out in a press release at councillors who voted against him on the parking proposal and calling in a facilitator.
A facilitator is someone who helps a person or organisation achieve an outcome, whether that be learning, productivity or communication, by providing guidance or supervision.
Sue Wells was involved with the new council's induction programme late last year.
According to her LinkedIn page, she is an experienced crisis manager and council governance consultant.
She is the director of Sue Wells & Associates, which provides "plain English resource management and local government advice to the private sector, community groups, and councils" as well as "governance training, crisis management training, mentoring for elected members and governance teams".
Wells was a councillor herself at Christchurch City Council over 15 years.
She'll need that experience, if she's going to take on the current state of local government in the capital.