'Impossible to say' who will lose jobs

Adam Feeley
Adam Feeley
Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Adam Feeley says he is unable to say how many people will lose their jobs with the council through the current restructuring.

In statements and responses to media inquiries, Mr Feeley has used the figure of approximately 40 full-time equivalent staff. However, some media reports have suggested that could mean 100 staff could go.

Otago Daily Times attempts to pin down the number of actual people who might be out of a job as a result of a reduction of 40 FTEs have been unsuccessful, and Mr Feeley reiterated yesterday he could not answer the question.

Pointing out that the number of days staff worked per week ranged from one to five and that the council was still going through a recruitment process, Mr Feeley said, ''I don't know which staff get jobs and which don't.

''So it's utterly impossible to answer the question.

''It's not a case of not wanting to answer; it's being completely unable to answer the question.''

Mr Feeley said it will ''obviously not be less than 40'' but saying it might be 100 was ''alarmist''.

''I'm just not willing to speculate because it would be incredibly irresponsible for me and I would be prejudging the outcome.''

In an interview with an ODT reporter on Tuesday night, Mr Feeley said, ''The best part of one third of the organisation is affected and anywhere from 15% to 25% of staff could lose their jobs.''

Based on the total number of council employees referred to in the final restructuring report released on Tuesday - 335 ''actual employees'' - that percentage range equates to between 50 and 83 people.

In a press release issued when the final restructuring report was released on Tuesday, Mr Feeley said it had been a difficult few weeks for staff, ''particularly with the report [the draft consultation document prepared by a review team] having been leaked to the media''.

Asked to explain what difficulties that had created for staff, Mr Feeley said media reports focusing on specific inefficiencies found in council operations were hard for staff working in those areas.

The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) is pleased the final report on the future structure of the Queenstown Lakes District Council indicates library staff hours will be reduced by less than originally proposed.

However, in a statement yesterday, president Heather Lamond said the reduction of qualified library staff still posed a threat to the integrity of the regional library service.

While she was happy there had been ''some improvements'' in total library staffing, there were still concerns about the reduction of professional qualified library staff, especially at council management level.

The disestablishment of the shared services library manager role was of ''particular concern'' as was the fact libraries could be under the direct management of ''someone with no professional library knowledge or experience''.

''This has the potential to result in misinformed decision-making in terms of the libraries' future direction and strategic planning.''

- mark.price@odt.co.nz

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