Otago Regional Council staff are facing uncertain times as
chief executive Peter Bodeker proposes to restructure the
It is understood key staff, including some of the council's
six directors, could be affected, but Mr Bodeker would not
comment yesterday, saying no decisions had been made and it
was ''irresponsible'' for people to speculate.
A consultation document had been presented to staff and
feedback was due in by Thursday.
Not all staff would be potentially affected by the proposal
but all were able to provide feedback, he said.
''Then I'll take a week to consider the feedback from
Staff spoken to by the Otago
Daily Times declined to comment, saying they had been
told the consultation was confidential.
Mr Bodeker, who has been in the job 11 months, said the
proposal was not a ''cost-cutting exercise'' and nor was the
Its aim was to ''position the council going forward'' so it
could meet the challenges of two major pieces of legislation
on water quality and the end of mining rights to water.
''We have to spend a lot of time with landowners - in
particular farmers - to make that transition a success for
The organisation needed to be in a better position to engage
with landowners, he said.
''We need to have the organisation structured in a way to do
The council had already lost land resources manager Susie
McKeague, one of the council's key liaison staff with
''It was not related to the consultation at all.''
Any large organisation lost senior staff and they went with a
lot of knowledge but there were really good staff left who
could ''pick up the mantle''.
Ms McKeague, who had worked for the council for 12 years,
said when contacted she left to pursue other business
opportunities and could not comment further.
Mr Bodeker said under the proposal the council's 140 staff
could increase by two or three. Some staff might have to
reapply for positions if employment law required it.
The proposal had not been directed by the council, he said.
''It's my observations after a long period of consideration.
It is very much a long considered view of where the
organisation needs to go.''
The new councillors will not be sworn in until next week but
met yesterday for an informal get-together.
Last term's chairman, Stephen Woodhead, said staff
organisation was the responsibility of the chief executive
and as such it was inappropriate for him or any other
councillor to comment.
Federated Farmers Otago chairman Stephen Korteweg said when
contacted Ms McKeague would be ''sadly missed''.
Farmers were waiting anxiously for the outcome of the
consultation and hoped it would be in their ''best
''He's [Bodeker] a new broom and he'll be wanting to make his
Otago Fish and Game Council chief executive Niall Watson said
when contacted he hoped any structural changes being made to
the regional council would involve setting up a firm
compliance regime to deal with the challenges of the new 6A
water quality regulations.
''Implementation of 6A is going to require careful
consideration of resourcing.''