Mayor needs 'communication staff'
The Government's former watchdog at the Christchurch City Council has recommended a high-level employee in Mayor Bob Parker's office to handle communications.
Crown observer Kerry Marshall made the suggestion in his second report to the Local Government Minister, now David Carter, dated May 4.
The Press has obtained a copy of the report, released at the end of last month, after an Official Information Act request. Marshall, who finished his stint on July 1, said he had come up with his recommendation separately to whatever came out of the communications review carried out by Christchurch public relations consultant Felicity Price.
That report, budgeted to cost about $80,000, has been given to the council's senior management team and is expected to be presented to councillors for public release this month, along with a report from staff on the findings and recommendations.
In his report to Carter, Marshall said he believed Parker's office would benefit from "additional dedicated support staff".
"This should be led by a chief of staff focusing on policy advice and internal council and external communication," he said.
"Such a position would particularly help the mayor further manage situations when workload exceeds capacity.
"Residents and the business community of Christchurch and Canterbury want to know what is happening, the good and the bad, both at a policy and at the implementational level.
"There is a communications audit and review taking place currently which will give some direction on this matter. This is urgent."
Marshall said he had compared the Christchurch council with the Auckland and Wellington councils, which had staff "seen to be answerable to the mayor even though employed by the chief executive".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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