Parker v Dalziel

Glenn Conway at The Press reports:

Former Christchurch mayor Sir Bob Parker has criticised his successor, Lianne Dalziel, for doubling staff numbers in her office without consulting ratepayers.

The staff changes for the Mayor’s Office were part of a restructure by the Christchurch City Council’s acting chief executive Jane Parfitt, as mayoral responsibilities increased.

Dalziel said the structure helped “create an efficient use of my time so I can devote myself to the city”.

Dalziel yesterday said she had made “an error in judgment” by not explaining the changes when staff were appointed.

Figures released under the Official Information Act show the mayoral office budget in the 2013-14 year was $385,952. The proposed budget for 2014-15 is $798,605.

Dalziel said she should have “front-footed” the changes to her office.

Parker, who had about four staff in his office during his six years in charge, said the “sizeable increase in costs” was never raised publicly through the annual plan process.

“The decisions, apparently, have already been made and contracts granted by the mayor,” Parker said.

Dalziel’s office has more staff than the mayoral offices in Wellington and Dunedin combined.

It would be very interesting to learn the size of each mayoral office. They should all be of comparable sizes, for similarly sized councils.

Auckland mayor Len Brown has about 20 staff in his office and Prime Minister John Key employs about 25 staff .

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull, who has “a PA and that’s it” said new mayoral powers were “more illusionary than real”.

His council looked for savings “wherever we can find them” and “as a default” did not hire new staff if possible. There were no plans to review staffing levels.

A spokesman for Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown said she employed six-and-a-half fulltime positions, including a chief of staff, office manager/PA, receptionist (who is also PA to the chief of staff), an events co-ordinator and one and a half fulltime correspondence co-ordinators.

20 staff for Len Brown is a staggeringly high figure.

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