Kevin Lavery has been confirmed as Wellington City Council’s new chief executive, ending speculation he may turn the $400,000 job down.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown today confirmed the appointment, which he will start in March.
“Kevin’s career thus far shows he can work with people across the political spectrum and that his focus is on providing affordable and quality services in challenging local government environments,’’ Ms Wade-Brown said.
‘‘His strategic thinking, telecommunications background and urban regeneration experience will be welcome.’’
Dr Lavery has been appointed for five years with an annual salary package of $400,000.
The announcement comes soon after Dr Lavery released a statement to colleagues at Cornwall Council confirming he had been offered the post, but said he had not yet decided whether to take it.
Wellington City councillors spent three hours debating the appointment of Dr Lavery from four contenders last week.
Long-term incumbent Garry Poole applied for the job but The Dominion Post understands he lost in a 9-6 vote to Dr Lavery, who will receive a salary of $420,000.
A Wellington City Council spokesman could not confirm whether the council paid for Dr Lavery's interview trip, or whether his relocation costs would be paid if he took the job.
In his statement, Dr Lavery said he would be spending the next few days considering the Wellington offer and discussing it with his family.
"I have enjoyed my time as the chief executive of Cornwall Council and will be sorry to leave the authority and Cornwall," he said.
The news came as a surprise to many of his Cornwall colleagues. Liberal Democrat deputy leader Alex Folkes told British media Mr Lavery had done a "huge amount for the people of Cornwall".
"It's a job that's half done. There is still so much to do when the council is facing so many challenges."
Cornwall councillor Lance Kennedy told The Dominion Post it had been a pleasure and privilege to work with Mr Lavery, who was an "intelligent, forward-thinking and personable CEO".
He credited him with helping Cornwall Council avoid the worst effects of the recession, far better than many other authorities.
- The Dominion Post
Should Wellington have a new convention centre?Related story: $100m Hilton project back to drawing board