Council's property department under review

Laura McElhone.
Laura McElhone.
The performance of the Dunedin City Council's city property department is under the scrutiny of an independent auditor.

It was confirmed yesterday Deloitte had been called in to examine the department responsible for property worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

It is understood the review's focus was on the department's performance, and any suggestion of impropriety has been ruled out.

Deloitte has been brought in to provide extra resources for the review, but city property manager Kevin Taylor has been replaced in the day-to-day running of the department by water and waste group manager Laura McElhone.

Neither Mr Taylor nor Dr McElhone responded to requests for comment yesterday.

Instead, council communications and marketing manager Graham McKerracher, in a written response to the Otago Daily Times, confirmed Deloitte's review was under way.

The focus was on reviewing ''the systems, strategies and operations processes'' of the council's city property department.

Mr Taylor's new focus would be on several ''priority projects'' within the property portfolio, while Dr McElhone would manage city property and building maintenance duties.

Mr McKerracher could not say what the priority projects were, but a report with recommendations from Deloitte was expected in ''several weeks''.

The review was the latest upheaval for the council's property department after the departure of former city property manager Robert Clark in 2014, and his assistant manager, Rhonda Abercrombie, the following year.

Mr Clark's departure came after a restructuring proposal, effectively disestablishing his position, was circulated to staff.

He was replaced by Mr Taylor, who was recruited from Invercargill-based H.W. Richardson Group Ltd.


Robert Clark learnt of his disestablishment via restructuring proposal email to staff.

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