40 jobs lost at QLDC

The Queenstown Lakes District Council offices on Gorge Road, Queenstown. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council offices on Gorge Road, Queenstown. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
More than 100 staff from the Queenstown Lakes District Council and its two former council-controlled organisations are directly affected by yesterday's ''disestablishment'' of about 40 full-time equivalent positions.

Staff in disestablished positions could apply for a new job and if unsuccessful would be given notice and their positions terminated over the next few months.

The earliest a staff member would lose their jobs was on July 1 when the disestablishment took effect.

Chief executive Adam Feeley met council, Lakes Leisure and Lakes Environmental staff, with Wanaka staff linked by video and teleconference, yesterday.

Asked about the mood at the meetings, Mr Feeley said he thought it was ''pretty philosophical''.

The staff did not have the final organisational review report at the time, but would read it and see the changes made from the draft.

''By and large most people were taking a positive view of this,'' Mr Feeley said.

''I think a lot of people want to stay with the council and the feedback during submissions was generally very supportive of change.

''People want to see the council operating in a different way and understand the need for change at a general level.

''At an individual level, some people are having to face up to some challenges in terms of career direction and we're going to support them through that over the next few weeks.''

Mr Feeley said because of duplicated activities when the three organisations were put together, the same number of staff was not needed.

One council staff member, who declined to be named, said it was more or less ''business as usual'' in the office yesterday.

''The main conversation is on work in hand rather than the changes foreshadowed in the final report,'' the staff member said.

Among changes from the reorganisational draft was the reinstatement of a landscape planner.

Infrastructure, which cost the council $60 million a year, was singled out by the chief executive as an activity which could be done ''smarter and better''.

Significant savings were to be made from more vigorous management of commercial contracts.

Savings of more than $2 million to $3 million were achievable in the next 12 months, but larger savings were to be had in the medium term, he said.

Asked if paying off the council's $100 million debt prompted the review, Mr Feeley said a good rule of thumb of a local authority was no more than 10% of rates went towards servicing debt and the council was serving about 9%.

''Debt in itself is not a significant issue, but what will become an issue is we've got some projects ahead.

''Project Shotover is one, but we have a lot of infrastructure we've got to do in the coming year, so I think it's more a case of getting rid of the old debt so that we can take on some new capital expenditure.'ChangesAbout 40 full-time equivalent positions disestablished.

 


Changes

• About 40 full-time equivalent positions disestablished.

• More than 100 staff, or one-third, of council, Lakes Environmental and Lakes Leisure staff affected.\

• 15%-25% of staff could lose their jobs.

• Positions terminated on July 1 or October 1.

• Staff told yesterday after consultation on draft review.

• New positions advertised internally and externally in next few weeks.

• Lakes Leisure and council's Community Services team operations amalgamated.

• Lakes Environmental engineering team and council's Infrastructure Services operations amalgamated.

• New legal and regulatory team to manage all council's regulatory and enforcement functions.

• New general manager responsible for consenting activities of Lakes Environmental and council's planning functions.

• Council chief executive Adam Feeley on interview panel for all positions which report to him.

• $2m-$3m savings in short term; much more in medium to long term.