Council's property dept 'has turned corner'

Dave Bainbridge
Dave Bainbridge
The Dunedin City Council's new property services group manager says the department has turned a corner after a difficult period.

Dave Bainbridge was yesterday named as the council's permanent replacement for former property services group manager Laura McElhone, who left earlier this year.

Mr Bainbridge has been acting in the role since Dr McElhone's departure.

In March, the Otago Daily Times reported an exodus of staff from the department had fuelled a budget blowout of more than $2million, which was expected to grow by the end of the financial year.

The department, which was mired in claims of bullying and poor performance under former manager Kevin Taylor, has been relying on consultants to fill vacant roles since the resignations.

Mr Bainbridge, who arrived in Dunedin from the United Kingdom last year, has previously worked in private sector and central government property roles.

He would be responsible for 36 staff and a portfolio of buildings, community housing and commercial investment properties, as well as the management of future property-related projects.

Yesterday, Mr Bainbridge said the property department was nearing the end of a restructure which, at one point last year, had resulted in 11 contractors filling vacancies.

There was now only one contractor left, who was due to finish later this year, and permanent staff were settling into their roles.

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