Management rejig could axe council jobs

22:07, Feb 12 2014

A third of Waikato Regional Council's managers could find themselves out of a job if a proposed restructure goes ahead.

But the council's new chief executive, Vaughan Payne, promises the 17 staff affected will be offered redeployment where possible.

The council employs 465 staff in all.

Mr Payne told the Waikato Times, following yesterday's council meeting, that 17 of the council's tier two and three management positions would be stripped out of the organisation's 52 top jobs.

Tier two managers report directly to Mr Payne, tier three directly to the tier two managers.

Mr Payne said he was consulting staff and the Public Service Association union.


The proposed changes were aimed at saving money and better service for ratepayers. But he could not say how much would be saved as the changes were "first and foremost about making sure our structure supports our work".

"It's simply too early to say what impact any change might have on individuals," he said.

"We are just going through staff consultation. I have put out a proposal about being as direct as we can to our stakeholders. But it's only a proposal, and not a given at this stage. Consultation with staff closes in a few days and there's a lot of feedback we are getting from staff. It's complex."

The idea came from "fit for purpose" stakeholder surveys Mr Payne completed last year before taking over as chief executive in November.

"In the middle of last year I did some extensive stakeholder surveys and have based the proposal on their feedback."

Mr Payne is leading the reform with a view to improving the council's operating effectiveness and efficiency over four years.

The review, benchmarked against similar organisations, found reducing management costs would release resources to spend more on operational delivery.

The council had the right number of frontline staff but could improve effectiveness and efficiency by grouping like-with-like activities.

Further reviews and changes are likely at staff level once the new management structure is confirmed.

No one from the PSA was available to comment, but Hamilton Citizens and Ratepayers Association president Rod Bowman welcomed Mr Payne's proposal.

"That seems a damn good idea to me," he said. "We could carry that over to the Hamilton City Council as well." Hamilton council chief executive Barry Harris recently took on five managers and Hamilton city mayor Julie Hardaker spent $165,000 on a press secretary."

Hamilton City Council communications manager Elizabeth Hughes said there had been $165,000 allocated to the Mayor's office for the employment of five staff - not for one press officer as Mr Bowman claimed.

Waikato Times