City to pay double as new chief exec arrives

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 23:03 04/02/2013
Kevin Lavery
New Wellington City Council chief executive Kevin Lavery.

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Ratepayers will have to pay double-time when Wellington City Council's new chief executive takes the reins next month.

Councillors will meet on Thursday to agree to a transition plan for when incumbent chief executive Garry Poole steps aside for Kevin Lavery, who comes from the Cornwall Council in Britain.

Mr Poole's contract expires on March 2, while Dr Lavery's start date is March 31, leaving a month with no chief executive.

Under the proposed transition, Mr Poole would continue as chief executive on his current salary until March 31, and then stay on in an "advisory role" for a further two weeks while Dr Lavery settles in.

Mr Poole earns $419,230 a year, while Dr Lavery's salary will be $400,000.

That means ratepayers will be paying two chief executive salaries for two weeks, with Mr Poole's adding $16,124 on top of Dr Lavery's during the handover period.

In a statement to staff yesterday, Mr Poole said he was focused on making the transition as smooth as possible. "The executive leadership team [ELT] is preparing a welcome and induction programme for Dr Lavery . . . In the meantime, it is business as usual.

"I am continuing to work closely with the mayor, councillors, ELT, the leadership group and staff throughout the organisation. It is important that we stay focused on the issues and challenges to hand."

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said Mr Poole had been "really professional and helpful in his approach" since learning late last year that his contract would not be renewed.

Mr Poole has been chief executive of the council for 15 years, and had reapplied for the position, but lost out to Dr Lavery in a close vote at a closed doors council meeting.

Ms Wade-Brown said the council could not be without a chief executive in the month before Dr Lavery arrived.

"It seems logical to stick with the one we've got for that period."

Having to pay two salaries for two weeks would be "worthwhile" to ensure a "seamless transition", she said.

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- The Dominion Post

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