Council meeting ignores big issue of chief executive

02:00, Feb 21 2013
tdn ric stand
Witt chief executive Richard Handley

The Witt council met formally yesterday for the first time since the fallout over its decision to advertise for a new chief executive.

But throughout the two hour meeting there wasn't a single mention of the events which had played out over the past three weeks.

Earlier this month it was revealed the council had denied chief executive Richard Handley's request to have his contract extended for two more years after it expired in July.

Up to 10 Witt staff members attended yesterday's meeting, including Mr Handley.

After the meeting Mr Handley said it was encouraging staff were present so they could gain an understanding of how council makes strategic decisions.

A positive financial performance was presented at the meeting with Witt posting an end of 2012 surplus of $1.58 million.

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The result came as a surprise to council as such a positive financial result had not been forecast.

This was because Witt budgeted conservatively, Mr Handley said.

Course completion success for students was 78 per cent for 2012 - 10 per cent higher than the targeted 68 per cent.

"2012 was a spectacular outcome for little Witt," Mr Handley said.

Mr Handley said the meeting covered important issues including strategic direction, campus investment and programme development.

"I thought it was a very constructive meeting."

At the back of the 74-page agenda were 17 news stories on Witt dating back to early November.

However, not included in the clippings were Taranaki Daily News stories which announced Mr Handley was leaving and exposed deep rifts within Witt leadership including allegations of bullying from some council members.

Today people are invited to attend an open forum meeting about the council's decision not to extend Mr Handley's contract.

The event is scheduled to be held at New Plymouth Boys' High School's Ryder Hall from 6.30pm.

Taranaki Daily News