Editorial: Boss's call on holidays

18:57, Nov 11 2012
Tony Marryatt
Christchurch City Council boss Tony Marryatt

Wouldn't we all like an extra 11 days' holiday a year?

And what a great boss to allow them, as Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt has done.

"One day off extra each month team, you've been under a lot of stress since the earthquake."

Except to some it doesn't look good. Some councillors. Some ratepayers. Councillors who first learnt of this through the local newspaper. And duly got upset.

Because their chief executive, the only person on the council they actually employ, didn't tell them about it.

Naughty, naughty, because there is supposed to be a no surprises policy.


But let's back up a minute. The extra holidays have been in place for a year, before the no surprises clause was enacted. And if councillors really were unaware of the extra holidays, they can't be very in touch with staff.

Which actually is the main point.

They don't have to be. It's not their job. That's why they employ a chief executive . . . and no one else.

So they don't get mixed up with staff issues.

Their job is governance. Tony Marryatt's is management. He employs everyone else, so this is his management of them.

So is it appropriate management?

Business leaders have been critical because it's so broad. Some staff may benefit from the extra days, others simply take advantage of them. Councillors worry about the perception of being over-staffed, and ratepayers the extra cost (even if there might not be any).

Yet these are exceptional times, and council workers are people too. They are dealing with stressed people, and their own lives may be in turmoil. One extra day off a month to sort their personal affairs within office hours might be a godsend to them. Godsend enough that their overall productivity is improved.

Who's the judge of that? Tony Marryatt. And he must think the initiative has been worthwhile, because he's seen fit to extend it for another 11 months.

Which is the sort of judgement the council employs him to make. Even if he should have had the courtesy to tell them about it.

Maybe he meant to, but was on leave that day.

The Timaru Herald