Second senior manager quits council job

Maureen Crombie
Maureen Crombie

A second senior New Plymouth District Council manager is understood to have quit and left the organisation abruptly in the last month.

Corporate strategy and policy manager Maureen Crombie is believed to have resigned her post and cleared out her office the same day. Her resignation is understood to have come before that of Puke Ariki boss Fiona Emberton, who unexpectedly resigned last Wednesday after just 14 months in the job.

Ms Crombie was employed about one year ago to fill a vacancy left when former corporate policy and strategy manager Kate Macnaught moved to Wellington. Mrs Macnaught was the wife of former Puke Ariki boss Bill Macnaught, whom Ms Emberton was hired to replace in August last year.

It is not known why Ms Crombie left. Attempts to find her yesterday were unsuccessful. She is not residing at the address listed for her on the electoral role, is not listed in the phone book and her mobile phone rings straight through to answer machine.

Council chief executive Barbara McKerrow would not discuss Ms Crombie's employment yesterday.

"I do not discuss matters relating to the employment of individual staff members in public. Any communication about a resignation is always left to the discretion of the individual concerned," she said.

The sudden and unexplained departures of Ms Crombie and Ms Emberton come just weeks after the council's most senior engineer, Anthony Wilson, left for a job at the Wellington City Council.

His departure was preceded by the resignation of water and wastes manager Brent Manning to take up a new job with the South Taranaki District Council.

Mrs McKerrow said managing vacancies was a normal part of any organisation's business and they sometimes happened in clusters.

"The council always ensures that provision is made for operations to remain unaffected when a position becomes vacant. Therefore, there is no compromise to council operations at this time," she said.

Yesterday the Taranaki Daily News revealed how the council had refused on privacy grounds to answer questions we asked about Ms Emberton's departure.

Her sudden resignation came after more than a month away on sick leave. Staff were told this was because of a severe repetitive strain injury but the Daily News was told she had "fallen out" with a senior council manager and was "probably not coming back".

Taranaki Daily News