Marryatt undone by old-school way
Bob Parker's legacy was cemented during the quakes but how will Tony Marryatt's contribution to the city be remembered?
Not so long ago council bosses were seldom heard and rarely seen.
They shunned media, preferred to deal with matters with little or no consultation, and refused to pander to the constant demands of their "employers"; an assortment of people from all walks of life we like to call councillors.
Tony Marryatt, for all his faults, was basically a 20th century chief executive living in a 21st century world.
The consensus among those in the know appears to be Marryatt was a likeable old school local government veteran who simply struggled to change his ways.
And it's not like Christchurch had no warning - Marryatt ruffled feathers when he worked in Southland and again in Hamilton where he made an enemy of the mayor for allegedly causing divisions in council and tried to make key decisions without his approval.
In 2007, Marryatt scored the coveted and plum job of heading the Christchurch local body.
Many hoped he would learn from his past and tackle the job free of drama. Six years on, few would say he achieved anything close to that.
The enormous pay rises, claims he made key decisions with little or no consultation, allegations of playing favourites with some councillors, his fractious relationship with the business community, the Crown appointing a mediator then a fix-it man when its consenting issues got out of control, a large public protest calling for his resignation, giving his staff extra leave, and a communications audit that slammed how the council talked to each other and to its ratepayers - the list is as long as it is contentious.
Then there is the other side.
He was extremely popular with staff, highly regarded by his executive team, viewed as a deep, logical thinker and one of the smartest financial brains in local government. He understood complex issues, could get others to comprehend them and was a skilled negotiator.
Marryatt did not want to be interviewed for this story, despite being offered the chance to have his say.
His Ilam house was auctioned last week but Marryatt will stay close to the city until his resignation takes effect at the end of November.
His next move, though, is less clear.
It is expected he will leave Christchurch. He owns a Gold Coast property and may be tempted to stay there until he works out his next move.
Various people around the city - some who worked with him and others who didn't - say Marryatt was dedicated and focused but also set in his ways.
That combination took hold early in his tenure. Rumours flared Marryatt was exerting too much control, keeping information from elected members and getting offside with the business community.
It didn't relent and it was those same features that eventually led to his downfall.
Marryatt sided with Mayor Bob Parker, drew in councillors he trusted and convinced them to go with several contentious ideas and, along the way, garnered enough support to get big pay rises and a fresh, albeit reduced, contract.
All of this alienated the council from its community.
Regardless of all the good work the council did, pre and post- earthquake, it was hard to get any positive traction because every move they was cloaked with suspicion.
Marryatt didn't help himself. There were the photographs of him playing golf on the same day as a council meeting, the Christmas holiday interview where he turned up wearing shorts and a pair of jandals and giving his staff an extra day's leave despite claims there was plenty of work to be getting on with.
But perhaps the most visible sign of the public's annoyance was when an estimated 3000 of them protested outside the council's head office in an unprecedented march in February 2012.
Marryatt accepting a $68,000 pay rise.
It was the start of the end for Marryatt, as any councillor who subsequently showed any support would inherit politically dangerous baggage.
The four councillors seeking re- election who backed his $68,000 pay hike are feeling the heat.
That's the power and depth of the feelings Marryatt stirred during his time in charge.
His resignation, while not unexpected, pleased many who saw his departure as "cleansing".
But then, there are the positives Marryatt brought to the table.
He possessed an extraordinary knowledge of local government.
He was seen a deep thinker and someone who could see merit in long-range borrowing - paying for projects over 30 years so all the users paid their share.
Some council staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Marryatt managed to meet and talk with many of his 2000-plus staff despite having serious constraints on his time.
His move to offer staff an extra day's leave was seen as controversial and unnecessary by outsiders but one staffer said it was his way of "looking out for us."
Perhaps one of his greatest achievements was his brokering of the cost-sharing agreement between the council and Government over who pays for the city's anchor projects.
Sources close to the negotiations say Marryatt's negotiation skills came to the fore in those talks and he helped secure a deal for the city that saved ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
But, like most of Marryatt's better moments, that too was done behind closed doors, where no-one could see.
That, in his end, was his undoing.
It is also his legacy.
May 2007: Appointed chief executive.
October 2007: Oversees signing of $113m lease with Ngai Tahu to occupy the new civic building in Hereford St.
November 2007: Instrumental in the council paying $3 million for the rights to stage the Ellerslie International Flower Show.
April 2008: Announces plans to raise social housing rents by 24 per cent - a move that is later quashed in the High Court.
August 2008: Announces the council paid $17m for five inner- city properties from troubled developer David Henderson.
November 2008: Awarded a 22 per cent pay increase.
June 2009: The council confirms it will contribute $24m to bring a conservatorium of music onto the site of the Arts Centre - a move later rejected by commissioners.
November 2009: Awarded a five per cent pay jump.
March 2010: Signed off (with Mayor Bob Parker) a paid trip by former councillor Gail Sheriff to attend a sandcastle competition in the United States.
May 2010: Figures released showed he spent nearly $13,000 on his procurement (P) card in 2009.
October 2010: Criticised for taking holidays just weeks after the September 4 earthquake.
December 2010: Tries to stand for the board of directors on council-owned company Christchurch City Holdings Ltd but withdraws after backlash.
May 2011: Ushered into second five-year contract, despite split in committee reappointing him.
September 2011: Council votes to cut Marryatt's new contract back to 2 and a 1/2 years.
November 2011: Admits staff went beyond their authority in signing an insurance deal to keep him "out of the loop".
December 2011: Councillors vote to give Marryatt a 14.4 per cent pay increase.
December 2011: Criticised for remaining on holiday on Gold Coast after December 23 earthquake.
January 2012: Defends pay rise and rejects criticism by Peter Beck of his salary increase. Photographed after returning from holiday, in his office wearing shorts and jandals.
January 2012: Announces an $80,000 independent audit and review of communication procedures.
January 2012: Rejects pay rise, but holds on to some of the money already paid.
February 2012: Estimated 4000 people protest outside council offices calling for mid term elections and the removal of Marryatt as chief executive.
October 2012: Denies conflict of interest over Lancaster Park insurance payout, as he is director of both Vbase and Civic Insurance.
December 2012: Loses his authority to place insurance.
June 2013: Civic Assurance shareholders vote against pay rise for directors, including Marryatt.
July 2013: Placed on indefinite paid leave after Parker withdraws support for him over consents crisis.
September 2013: Announces resignation as chief executive. Works remotely for final 11 weeks, until November 30.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Which do you think is the quote of the year?Related story: Best quotes? Cats, sweat and Aaron Gilmore