The new WCC CEO

Katie Chapman at Dom Post reports:

An Englishman with a reputation for cost-cutting has been picked as chief executive of Wellington City Council, ousting long-term incumbent Garry Poole.

In a closed-door meeting on Wednesday night, councillors spent three hours debating the appointment of Kevin Lavery, who will receive a salary of $420,000. Councillors interviewed four people for the position on Monday, after deciding in August to advertise the position.

Mr Poole applied for the job but The Dominion Post understand he lost out in a 9-6 vote to Dr Lavery, chief executive of Cornwall Council in southwest England.

In that role, which he has held for four years, Dr Lavery has been responsible for a £1 billion (NZ$1.94b) budget, and has driven a controversial proposal to outsource shared council services, including information technology, call centres and procurement in an effort to cut costs. In 2010, his pay package was worth £245,342 (NZ$476,732), and a newspaper investigation found that Cornwall Council had the highest staff credit card bill in Britain.

A reputation for cost cutting sounds good to me as a ratepayer.

Mr Poole announced the decision in a statement to staff yesterday: “As you can appreciate, it is a decision that for me is a significant disappointment. I am enormously proud of Wellington and what we have done to help it build an international reputation as a remarkable place to live, work, visit and play.”

I thought Poole had been an effective CEO. It seems one of those situations where Council would have been happy to keep him on, but thought someone else was a stronger candidate. This is one of the benefits of fixed term contracts.

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