Garry Poole loses WCC top spot

GARRY POOLE: The ex-WCC chief executive.
GARRY POOLE: The ex-WCC chief executive.

Garry Poole has lost his job as chief executive of Wellington City Council.

In a closed door meeting last night, councillors spent three hours debating the appointment, which carries a $420,000 salary.

On Monday councillors interviewed four people for the position after deciding to advertise the position following Mr Poole’s annual review in August.

Mr Poole had reapplied for the job, but is understood to have lost out in a 9-6 vote last night. No announcement about the successful candidate has been made.

Mr Poole announced the decision in a statement to staff today.

‘‘As you can appreciate, it is a decision that for me is a significant disappointment. I am enormously proud of Wellington and what we have done to help it build an international reputation as a remarkable place to live, work, visit and play.’’

The council would be announcing the new appointment in ‘‘due course’’ and he would work with the executive leadership team on the transition.

‘‘I have great confidence that we all will ensure this change does nothing to disrupt the quality and consistency of our work.’’

During the interviews, the short-listed candidates gave presentations to the full council before being questioned by councillors.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon oversaw the process which was strictly carried out, with all staff and the public ejected from the floor of the Town Hall when debate began on Wednesday.

Ms Wade-Brown had previously said the council was aiming to reach a decision before Christmas.

In a separate statement sent to staff she thanked Mr Poole for his work over the past 15 years.

‘‘We will work closely with the Executive Leadership Team and the CEO to ensure a smooth transition for staff, projects and the city.’’

The successful candidate’s name would be released ‘‘once negotiations are complete’’, she said.

Wednesday’s proceedings got off to a fiery start after an extraordinary council meeting to consider Basin Flyover support, scheduled before the meeting where the job process was on the agenda, was delayed until after Mr Poole’s future was decided.

The procedural motion was put forward by Ray Ahipene-Mercer and narrowly passed eight votes to seven.

After it succeeded he said he called for the delay because it was “unethical”.

“I find it repugnant the CEO having to give advice on these matters that have monumental implications when he doesn’t even know if he has his job in a few hours time or not.”

Ngaire Best, Jo Coughlan, Leonie Gill, Mr McKinnon, Simon, Marsh, John Morrison and Bryan Pepperell supported the move.

The move to advertise the chief executive position followed a closed-door council meeting in August after Mr Poole met the performance review committee earlier in the day.

At the time, Ms Wade-Brown and Mr McKinnon said the decision was in keeping with previous decisions to advertise the position in 2002 and 2007.

The Dominion Post