Council boss transition plan green-lit

Incoming Wellington City Council chief executive Kevin Lavery.
Incoming Wellington City Council chief executive Kevin Lavery.

Outgoing Wellington City Council chief executive Garry Poole will stay on until April 12. 

City councillors this morning voted unanimously in favour of a transition plan for when Mr Poole hands over the reins to incoming chief executive Kevin Lavery, the current head of 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 transition, Mr Poole will 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, leaving two weeks where both will be paid, costing ratepayers $16,124 in extra wages.

At this morning's meeting councillors said Mr Poole providing advice for two weeks would allow as smooth a transition as possible and having him stay on in a handover capacity was the best approach.

"What we're looking for is a seamless transition," Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon said.

A handover period was "standard practice".

Councillor Bryan Pepperell said the handover was essential.

"There are all sorts of conversations these two men will need to have ... Institutional memory doesn't get transferred just like that."

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 late last year.

In a statement to staff earlier this week, Mr Poole said he was focused on making the transition run smoothly.

"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."

Contact Katie Chapman
Wellington reporter
Twitter: @katiechapman28

The Dominion Post