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Chairman Andrew Noone and chief executive Sarah Gardner issued a joint statement to announce councillors had decided to bring in outside help amid ongoing turmoil at the council.
Yesterday, Mr Noone said it was "absolutely" a positive step for the organisation, but declined to say anything further.
"There’s really nothing else that needs to be shared at this point," he said.
The joint statement said councillors and the council’s executive leadership were unanimous about the need to restore their relationship.
The move comes as tension becomes increasingly apparent at the council.
Late last month, a general manager lost his cool in a meeting, calling a councillor’s resolution a "load of rubbish", and saying he would ask his "boss", Mrs Gardner, about doing the work the councillor’s resolution entailed.
At the start of this month, when details emerged about a councillor-initiated, independent investigation of staff, Mrs Gardner said tension between senior managers and councillors was getting in the way of work.
Most recently, as councillors and the chief executive disputed the scope of a code of conduct review at the council, the debate in the meeting was cut short when Mr Noone suggested they check the video replay from a previous meeting to get clarity on what councillors actually asked the chief executive to do.
The joint statement last week from Mr Noone and Mrs Gardner said councillors agreed in a public-excluded meeting on Thursday to begin a process with "expert external assistance to review and restore a positive and constructive relationship between ORC governance and staff".
The step was "vital and welcome", the joint statement said.
It would allow the council to focus on its commitment to the Otago community and its "extensive programme of environmental work".
"The CE (chief executive Sarah Gardner) and I are both optimistic because it’s a positive step forward for ORC, taken in good faith and with clear, shared goals around the table," Mr Noone said.
"It’s important that we are able to conduct this process in a free and frank manner, without prejudice, and that we do our best to ensure a good outcome.
"I think we are unified in wanting an improved, constructive working environment for ORC and its communities."
At the closed-door meeting, councillors also agreed that further public commentary on the process would be supplied jointly by Mr Noone and Mrs Gardner, the statement said.
Last week, a Department of Internal Affairs spokeswoman said the department had not been in contact with the council recently about ministerial powers to intervene.
In 2020, the department was in contact with the council when Marian Hobbs resigned as chairwoman.
The department wanted to understand how the council was addressing the governance issues reported in the media at the time, the spokeswoman said.