Controversial Marryatt to leave Christchurch council

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 11:38 13/09/2013
Tony Marryatt
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

CONTROVERSIAL: Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt.

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Christchurch City Council's controversial boss, Tony Marryatt, has resigned and will walk with a payout and salary earnings of close to $500,000.

The chief executive will stay on the council payroll until the end of November.

His departure comes at the same time a report into his role in the council's consenting crisis fails to fully point the finger of blame at his feet.

The council employed Peter Winder of McGredy Winder and Co to carry out the investigation.

His report, to be released at 6pm today, identified a number of key issues that led to the loss of accreditation, but in mitigation also noted the pressures on the organisation and the chief executive as a direct result of the disastrous series of earthquakes that hit the city beginning in September 2010.

The report was of the view that in normal times a chief executive would have been expected to be aware of the issues relating to accreditation, but found that Marryatt was not aware of this situation until shortly before he informed the council.

The report stated: "The Chief Executive has been very focused on pursuing specific Council objectives, including the signature projects and cost sharing agreement with Government. Christchurch City Council is not in a business as usual situation."

But Marryatt accepted that, despite the presence of mitigating factors, the final responsibility for the loss of accreditation must rest with him.

Taking this into account, and with local government elections due in October, Marryatt said in a statement that he felt now would be a suitable time to resign.

Marryatt's last day of employment with the council will be November 30.

He will be on full pay until that date during which he will earn $221,000. On his last official day at the council he will receive another $269,000 - meaning he will have earned nearly $500,000 between now and then.

Marryatt has already pocketed just over $100,000 since being placed on leave on July 3.

He will not be required to perform the chief executive role, but will be available to assist with handover matters.

In his statement, Marryatt thanked council staff for their "ongoing support, work ethic and focus on making a difference during extremely stressful and trying times".

He said he was proud of what the organisation had achieved for the city in extremely trying times.

There will be no further comment from Mayor Bob Parker, Marryatt or the council on this matter.

Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said Marryatt's departure was a great opportunity for the council to head in "a new direction''.

Townsend said it was "really important'' for the council to adopt more transparency, more accountability and more interaction with the community.

"With this changing of the guard, it is an opportunity for that to happen,'' Townsend said.

But he was reluctant to personally criticise Marryatt, saying his performance was an "employment issue".

"It is time to look forward, not backwards."

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