Council culls its top staff

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 15/12/2012

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Waikato District Council is to cull its general managers and there are fears more staff could go.

Council chief executive Gavin Ion announced the restructuring of the council's executive team yesterday but remained coy on the prospects of further job cuts.

Four of the six general managers have been made redundant and one resigned.

Council strategy and support general manager Tony Whittaker has kept his job.

Mr Ion said one personal assistant would also lose their job.

But in an emailed response to the Waikato Times, he stopped short of detailing further job cuts.

"Once the general managers are appointed they will need to make sure they are appropriately supported," he said.

Council stakeholder relations general manager Jo Ireland said she would not reapply for her job and was disappointed at the timing of the job cuts so close to Christmas.

"People quite like getting rid of managers because they see it as a cost saving but the reverse side of that is what you lose in expertise when you take out pretty much the whole of your senior team," she said.

"A number of my team are pretty gutted because we've worked really hard and had some real success stories in the last three years but there's always a silver lining and I'm looking forward to pursuing some options in the private sector."

Mr Ion said the restructuring was needed to provide an effective service to ratepayers.

The new structure will see three general manager positions created and one team manager role.

Staff spoken to by the Times said they feared more job cuts could follow.

The council employs 287 fulltime staff.

Waikato Mayor Allan Sanson said the executive team restructuring was driven by Mr Ion, but he supported the process.

He declined to say whether more council jobs could go.

"These things are never easy because the minute you talk about restructuring, people get a bit jittery.

"At the end of the day Gavin's come up with a structure of three group managers, as opposed to six, and as politicians we're relatively comfortable with that decision."

Raglan ward councillor Clint Baddeley said he hoped the restructuring would deliver the best outcomes for ratepayers.

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- Waikato Times

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