From stripper to acting CEO

CYCLING CARETAKER: The Stratford District Council is in good hands with acting chief executive Mike Avery leading the way.
CYCLING CARETAKER: The Stratford District Council is in good hands with acting chief executive Mike Avery leading the way.

Some people will recognise the acting chief executive officer of the Stratford District Council from his brief stint as an adult entertainer.

"I am probably one of the few CEOs, if not the only CEO, to have been a stripper for a paying audience," Mike Avery said.

Avery performed with the Hawera Repertory Society in its production of Ladies Night late last year.

The show was so successful it had to be extended.

"It was very tastefully done of course," Avery said.

While he said it was an honour to be a part of such a successful production Avery has no plans to be removing his clothes in public again.

Those not lucky enough to have witnessed Avery in his birthday suit may recognise him as a keen cyclist.

He rides to work from Hawera to Stratford three times a week on one of his recumbent bicycles.

He said that while it may look like hard work it was easier to ride a recumbent bike.

"That is why I ride it – I am a lazy rider.

"I managed to complete the round the mountain cycle ride the other weekend in that horrendous wind in five hours with no training whatsoever and most of that is because of the recumbent," he said.

Avery grew up in Waikato and moved to Taranaki in 1989.

"My wife and I ran Hebron House, a home for young people in Kaponga, for seven years," he said.

He then started working for the Stratford District Council where he has been for 15 years.

"I started as part time environmental health officer.

"Back in those days there were about six part time positions in various regulatory functions which I absorbed and became the planning and regulatory manager in 2000," he said.

Avery stepped in as acting CEO after the resignation of Michael Freeman.

While it came as a surprise to many, Avery said that Freeman had handed his resignation to the mayor two weeks before the announcement was made. "He had been talking in that direction without a firm time line on it for the previous year," he said.

Avery said he did not have any plans to make major changes to the council.

"Acting CEO is very much a caretaker role until a firm appointment is made of a full time CEO. The council have approved the annual plan to go up for consultation and that is looking at as close to a zero per cent rate rise as we can get – if we can follow through with that it will be very good.

"Essentially council is working very well at this moment and there is no reason why that should not continue – I'm not about to fix anything that isn't broken," he said.

Taranaki Daily News