Hundreds of council staff party responsibly

Sue Bidrose
Sue Bidrose
Hundreds of Dunedin City Council staff have been treated to a budget-conscious Christmas party, with senior managers picking up the booze bill themselves.

Staff gathered at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Thursday night for an end-of-year party funded by ratepayers.

However, once there, they were treated to free nibbles and entertainment only, not alcohol, council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said.

Instead, the council's senior managers met the cost of alcohol personally ''to thank staff for another year's hard work'', she said.

The exact numbers of those who attended was not known, but the event was open to all staff and catering was based on 350 people attending, she said.

With managers picking up the bar bill, the cost to ratepayers was expected to be about $2530, which was ''very similar'' to last year's Christmas party, which cost $3248, Dr Bidrose said.

Mayor Dave Cull, councillors and members of the council's executive leadership team, together with their partners, had earlier enjoyed a Christmas function in Middlemarch last Sunday, Mr Cull confirmed.

However, the outing combined a Christmas function, team-building exercise and familiarisation trip for new councillors, as well as acting as a fundraiser, Mr Cull said.

The group took a train to Pukerangi - provided at no cost by the Taieri Gorge Railway - then walked or rode on the rail trail, on bikes hired from a Dunedin business at a cost to the council of $360, he said.

A barbecue dinner was held in a stone barn in Middlemarch, at a cost to the council of $875, he said.

The dinner was provided by the Middlemarch Swimming Club as a fundraiser, and was partially BYO, he said.

The group was then taken back to Dunedin by bus, the hiring cost for which was yet to be confirmed, he said.

Mr Cull said the council had received ''a lot of bang for our buck'' from the Middlemarch trip, which helped the council and a community group, plus introduced new councillors to a different part of their city.

The council, as an good employer, wanted to acknowledge the festive season without ''penny-pinching'' but while being responsible, he said.

''Clearly we are being very prudent, as we should be,'' he said.

Dr Bidrose said individual council departments would also hold their own functions, such as end-of-year lunches, but no budgets were allocated and they were expected to pay for those themselves.


DCC Christmas party

Hello Topsy. Be convinced, the alcohol was paid for by senior staff 100% from their own pockets. The staff Christmas function was modest, less than $10 a head for chips, a few nibbles and Christmas cake, as a small gesture to thank the many DCC staff who have put in a good year's work.

Not convinced

"council's senior managers met the cost of alcohol personally". Not 100% clear on this comment. Did the managers pay from their own pocket ? Or did they each pay from their respective department's personal budget, as opposed to the bill being paid by the DCC as a lump sum? It sounds obvious at first glance, but not quite so clear when you read again. Call me a little skeptical, but I have difficulty in believing that a department manager would be paying for an evening of drinking for 30 staff members direct from their own salary. That's like paying for a small wedding. For employees ? I know they are paid well, but are they paid that well ?


Another council beat-up story. Come on ODT, go after some decent stories, the anti council stories are boring.

Why shouldn't hard working council staff deserve a beer for xmas without it appearing in your paper?

Yawn . . .


Paying own way

Good to hear that some councillors pay his/her own way for social events. 

When did this Christmas party spend up start?

When we worked in a hospital Coronary Care Unit - usually right through the holiday period (on night and day duty) the staff organised a get-together for a BBQ in a public park.

There was with no financial input from our employers. The thanks came from the patients and their family.

Sounds like so much fun....

Can't even have a decent Xmas party like everyone else in fear of the anti everything team  blowing up about petty costs.

DCC party

I'm a Dunedin rate payer but I don't recall an invitation to the function I paid for, don't recall the invite to the exec party undoubtedly paid for by the rate payer as well either. I can only assume they got lost in the mail.

Christmas Party

I support responsible Christmas Party spending- thank you to the Council staff.
I personally paid for myself and my husband to attend our Councillors and senior staff Christmas Party and I understand some other Councillors were intending to pay for themselves as well.
I felt uncomfortable about Taieri Gorge Railway not charging because I believe such things should be properly costed between DCC entities for accountability and transparency.

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