Council silent over senior manager at centre of probe

The Dunedin City Council is maintaining a wall of silence about which of its senior managers is at the centre of a conduct investigation.

The council has also not directly acknowledged the existence of the investigation.

It was revealed yesterday by the Otago Daily Times a King’s Counsel had been appointed to look into the senior manager’s conduct.

The ODT understands from multiple sources some work for the investigation has started.

The senior manager concerned has not responded to invitations to comment.

All councillors have been approached for comment and none provided any yesterday.

Cr Andrew Whiley said Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich was the most appropriate person to answer questions.

Mr Radich said on Thursday privacy rights and legal privilege sometimes prevented him from providing comment in response to questions.

A statement was sent by the council’s communications unit on Mr Radich’s behalf yesterday afternoon.

"The mayor will not be making any further comment on the questions raised", it said.

"The mayor and councillors have legal obligations as employers, which include protecting the privacy of staff in the event of any internal employment processes."

An organisational chart from January shows an executive leadership team of nine and a series of other senior positions.

A communications staff member was asked if there was a reason why the council had not acknowledged the existence of the investigation.

"The Dunedin City Council won’t be commenting on any internal employment-related matters", a spokesman said.

"We have policies and procedures which are followed in such matters to ensure all staff are protected in terms of privacy, health and safety and legal processes which are fair to all parties."