Council staff face job cuts amid restructuring

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 16:51 20/01/2014
Jane Parfitt
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

THE BOSS: Acting Christchurch City Council chief executive Jane Parfitt.

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Christchurch City Council staff are facing another shake-up as acting chief executive Jane Parfitt begins the next phase of restructuring.

And Parfitt says she cannot rule out the possibility of some job losses.

''We are looking for efficiencies,'' said Parfitt, who stepped into the chief executive's role after Tony Marryatt's forced departure in the middle of last year.

Last month Parfitt confirmed she was disestablishing six general management roles and creating a new seven-strong executive team, four of whom would be focused on rebuild and recovery issues and three of whom would be focused on the council's day-to-day operations.

That shake-up was the first major restructuring undertaken at the council since 2003 and was designed to ensure the organisation could cope with the demands of Christchurch's $40 billion rebuild.

Parfitt signalled at the time further restructuring would occur.

Yesterday, staff in the council's communications, marketing, civil defence and emergency management, elected member services, and international relations teams were told they would be the next to be scrutinised by Wellington management consultants MartinJenkins, the firm Parfitt has engaged to help with the restructuring. 

Under the new management structure those teams all report to the newly established Office of the Chief Executive, for which a director is currently being recruited.

Parfitt told The Press yesterday she had decided to proceed with an organisational review of those teams now because she wanted to ensure the new office was ''match fit'' by the time a new chief executive was appointed.

She had engaged MartinJenkins and a communications consultant to help her review to review the make-up of the teams, how they functioned, and to come up with a formal proposal for change. Parfitt said she would also be talking to other councils who had an Office of the Chief Executive to get ideas as to how they worked.

Staff would be consulted throughout the process, which she expected would take about three months.

Parfitt said she had no preconceived ideas about the outcome of the review but could not rule out some job losses.

''I don't know what's going to come out of it but we are looking for efficiencies. I've made no bones about that when talking to staff. Nothing is off the table in terms of coming up with the best structure,'' said Parfitt, adding she was looking for efficiencies across the whole council.

Other teams or units across the council would be looked at once the new executive team was in place, which would hopefully be by the end of March.

HUNT ON FOR NEW CEO

The council began advertising for a new chief executive on Saturday.

The job advertisement said the council was looking for someone with ''experience of driving large cultural change in complex organisations'', the ability to engage ''collaboratively and constructively'' with communities, as well as business and government, and the ability to operate under scrutiny from the media. 

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''This will be one of the most exciting and challenging positions you could ever wish for,'' it said.

- The Press

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