The Dunedin City Council has been dealt a body blow with
confirmation chief executive Paul Orders is poised to head back
Mr Orders will this morning be named in Wales as the
recommended candidate to take the chief executive's position
at Cardiff Council.
The new role would see Mr Orders returning to the
organisation he left in 2011, when he came to Dunedin, and
assuming responsibility for workforce of 18,000 and an annual
budget of nearly $2 billion.
Mr Orders is yet to officially tender his resignation in
Dunedin but he was the unanimous choice of Cardiff Council's
It has recommended his appointment, which will be considered
at the next Cardiff Council meeting on September 26
(September 27 in New Zealand), when a final decision is
If it is confirmed, Mr Orders is expected to depart Dunedin
before the end of the year.
Mayor Dave Cull confirmed the offer in a statement to the
Otago Daily Times late yesterday, while councillors were
briefed at the end of yesterday's marathon full council
Mr Orders was expected to inform council staff today.
He would not be interviewed until after details were
confirmed, but in a brief statement yesterday said the
Cardiff role was ''one of the few positions'' that could draw
him and his family away from Dunedin.
''My time working for the Dunedin City Council has been
stimulating and enjoyable, personally and professionally.''
Mr Cull said Mr Orders had made a ''huge difference'' to the
council, delivering millions of dollars of budget savings,
boosting debt repayments and reshaping the council structure.
''He has been an outstanding CEO and we would be extremely
sorry to see him go. However, we understand the attraction
for Mr Orders and his family of returning to their home
Mr Cull would also not be interviewed yesterday, and
councillors were under instructions not to talk until after
Cardiff Council's decision was confirmed later this week.
Mr Cull said councillors discussed the process and time frame
for appointing a new chief executive during a non-public part
of yesterday's meeting.
News of Mr Orders' imminent departure ended months of
speculation since Welsh media reports in May linked him to
Cardiff Council's top job.
Mr Orders, who is married with three young children, arrived
in Dunedin in September 2011 after quitting his role as the
corporate director (place) at Cardiff Council.
His move came soon after Cardiff Council appointed Jon House
as its new chief executive, but Mr House announced his
resignation in May after less than three years in the role.
Mr Orders was appointed for a five-year term in Dunedin,
replacing former chief executive Jim Harland, and with a
remuneration package worth between $340,000 and $360,000 per
At the time, the recruitment process that led to Mr Orders
was said to be the most expensive in the council's history,
costing just over $84,000.
Mr Cull said at the time Mr Orders was ''well and truly'' the
best candidate for the job but was expected to deliver
''We didn't employ him for business as usual. We employed him
because we want some things to change.''
Since then, Mr Orders had earned plaudits while overseeing
major change within the council, including departmental
reviews and restructuring, a leaner staff count and a major
overhaul of the council's executive management team.
An efficiency drive also saw staff pushed to absorb cost
increases wherever possible, while millions of dollars in
other savings were also identified, allowing the council to
slash rates increases and planned capital expenditure over
the past two years.
That freed up room within the council budget to accelerate
debt repayments and to budget for rising renewals bills to be
paid for with cash, rather than by borrowing, in future
Earlier this year, Mr Orders declined a $35,000-a-year pay
rise, saying the increase could not be justified when the
organisation remained in savings mode.