Rotorua Lakes Council's "organisational realignment" - which has seen seven deputy chief executives appointed - has so far cost $51,842 with the cost expected to rise to about $75,000.
The cost was revealed by council chief executive Geoff Williams in an interview with Local Democracy Reporting on Thursday, following a public furore over the past two weeks.
A former mayor, Rotorua's MP and a current councillor are among those who have criticised the changes, calling for an independent review of the council.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta, however, has taken a hands-off approach to the controversy, stating there was a high bar for government intervention.
Williams said the costs - which were in addition to two salary rises totalling about $28,000 - were "exclusively" consultants' fees.
He said the cost was necessary to ensure the decisions made on "confirmation of roles, grading of roles, the process" were done properly.
No other costs were expected.
The council has also confirmed job descriptions for the deputy roles - requested by Local Democracy Reporting on Friday - are yet to be finalised, despite the titles and pay rises being in effect.
Human resources expert Professor Jane Bryson of Victoria University said it seemed "unusual" to raise salaries and change titles before finalising job descriptions, but it was hard to know without knowing the full details of the change process and "how they've gone about it".
Williams said the deputy job descriptions were finalised before salaries and titles were changed: "they're finalised to the point where they're mostly done".
"We're still working through the final organisation change work and we're still working through the key performance indicators. There are some aspects which do need to finalised so therefore [the job descriptions] are in draft.
"There is enough substantive understanding of what these roles are about for us to make the decision to move forward and to confirm people back into jobs."
Five of the seven deputy chief executives are paid between $210,760 and $302,968 and two are paid between $196,481 and $282,441, according to organisational enablement deputy chief executive Thomas Colle.
Williams said the realignment was prompted by heightened expectations of the council.
The council wanted housing developed, jobs created and its climate action and community safety plans implemented.
"That's on top of the fact that we're already delivering the biggest capital works programme this organisation's ever done - lakefront, museum, performing arts centre.
"We've also got a sewerage scheme that we need to respond to urgently - Tarawera."
He said the expectations were of "significant scale" and in an environment of "total uncertainty in the local government sector".
"This organisation is asked to do more, deliver more, be more successful.
"That requires exceptional leadership.
"We've got to have people with their head in the game and focused on what this organisation intends to achieve."
He said the change process started with the executive leadership team but would be organisation-wide in a "staged approach".
"We sat down with the executive team and we talked through the accountabilities … on what roles did we all need to take and fulfil.
"Five out of the executive team - their roles had not substantively changed. That's a technical human resources term … their roles were substantively similar to what they were before, but what we had done is to align in behind them those parts of the organisation that they needed to provide direction to.
"We also made it very clear that we were holding them to account for a different set of outcomes from previously. Therefore those people were reconfirmed into their roles.
He said there was one exception where a new role was created and filled internally.
"One of our other executive team members was an increase in responsibility. That therefore mandated a [remuneration] review."
Williams said the deputy chief executive role was not new for the public service but it was new for local government.
The council had adopted "a public service approach".
"We need to provide leadership to bring our community together, to bring iwi together and to bring government together around the table in a way where we can align effort to produce those outcomes."
He said changing the titles of the council's senior leadership "says very clearly to everyone that our staff have got the chief executive's mandate to represent this organisation in leading these key pieces of outcome work".
"In the past we've had a group manager of strategy. Today, we've got a deputy chief executive district development, that's the person responsible for delivering housing and jobs.
"What is a group manager strategy accountable for delivering? Strategy. That's not about housing or jobs.
"What we have now is a person who represents this organisation to all of our partners in a way that they know they are talking to the person who is leading on jobs … housing."
Local Democracy Reporting asked if the council was proposing to build houses rather than only enabling housing through infrastructure, spatial and district plans and consenting.
Williams said "everyone needs to be playing their role in a way that we haven't before".
"Otherwise we'll just get the same results as we are currently. I don't accept that it's okay to have people living in motels because they've got no alternatives."
Regarding calls for an independent review of the council, Williams said he was "incredibly proud" of the organisation.
"This organisation's doing incredibly well.
"We are reviewed on a monthly basis at [the] Operations and Monitoring Committee."
Elected members could ask questions about anything on the staff reports, and it was also tested in the public-excluded Risk and Assurance Committee, he said.
Asked if he was surprised at the reaction from the public about the organisational realignment he said he had been "disappointed".
"There's not a recognition of the work this organisation is trying to do.
"It can become a very thankless task.
"I think the discussions have been the wrong discussions. The discussions have been about new jobs. The discussions have been about executive teams potentially getting a lot more money.
"That's simply not true.
"In behind this story is some very good reasons, and an organisation that's really going well beyond … to try and do good things for this community.
"What's been told is only a very small part of the story and that's led to misinformation, speculation and people drawing the wrong conclusion."
Williams said his only regret was not having an in-depth interview about the issue earlier.
Asked if the public would see the money spent on the organisational realignment back in the form of delivered outcomes, he said every effort would be made towards that goal.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said there was a "backstory" to the changes that was "clearly not understood".
"We knew it needed a real leadership approach so we put [Williams] to task."
She said many closed door workshops were about how Rotorua's myriad issues were going to be addressed.
"I think the scenario that's not understood is this is not business-as-usual.
"We had to move at pace and it needed real leadership, so we put the chief executive under substantial pressure to deliver these issues around housing and our community well-being."
She said the majority of the council supported the change.
"I just want to get all of the facts out there so our community understands the pressures that we're under and they get the right story."
She said the public was definitely getting things "wrong".
"If I read the way the story first broke, I read there were seven new deputy chief executives and there was nothing of the sort."