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Mayor Dave Cull presented the results of an independent assessment by CouncilMARK at yesterday's full Dunedin City Council meeting.
The Local Government New Zealand initiative used an independent assessment board to rate councils' performance, and has so far ranked the performance of 24 councils across the country.
Yesterday, the Dunedin City Council was given an ''A'' ranking across governance, financial, service delivery and communications measures.
The result placed the DCC in the top six councils assessed so far, after three others also received an ''A'' and two scored ''AA''.
No council has yet received a ''AAA'' - the highest possible score - but the DCC assessment was the first for a major metropolitan council.
Mr Cull told yesterday's meeting the report also described the council's financial decision-making and transparency, in particular, as ''stand out''.
That prompted several councillors, including Christine Garey, Rachel Elder and deputy mayor Chris Staynes, to jump to their feet and applaud.
Cr Vandervis - a vocal critic of the council's finances - was among those to remain seated.
Mr Cull praised the efforts of council staff, led by chief executive Sue Bidrose, ''for the enormous effort that has gone into bringing this council up to that standard that is now recognised''.
In a statement, he said he was ''delighted'' with the outcome, which showed the council was ''on the right track''.
Dr Bidrose said the result reflected the work the ''dedicated and passionate staff at the DCC do every day to help make the city a better place''.
In particular, the CouncilMARK report acknowledged the council's efforts in managing the impact of the Citifleet vehicle fraud and the income disruption caused by the decision to build Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Those challenges had been ''met and addressed in such a way that council can confidently 'rule a line' under them'', the report said.
That had been led by Dr Bidrose and her senior management team, who had instituted change and tackled weaknesses in the council's internal risk management systems, it said.
However, among areas for improvement identified in the report, councillors still needed to work on ''the tenet of collective responsibility''.