Deputy mayor’s role expectations spelled out

Nobby Clark
Nobby Clark. Photo: ODT files
The increasing responsibilities of Invercargill’s deputy mayor are set to be formalised.

A memorandum of understanding between Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt and deputy mayor Nobby Clark will be presented at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The document outlined nine points which would be the core role of the deputy mayor.

They included leadership of elected members, support at council meetings, a working relationship with the chief executive Clare Hadley and the executive leadership team, day-to-day support for the mayor, sponsorship of the council charter, formal communication between the mayor, deputy and CEO, and reporting to council and media relationships.

This meant Mr Clark’s responsibilities were to build a team by engaging positively and proactively with all elected members, facilitating relationships between elected members and the executive team and clarifying to Sir Tim requests and requirements from other councillors and staff.

Mr Clark also would chair meetings when Sir Tim was not available, brief the mayor on any dealings with the chief executive, councillors and external stakeholder and also would need to report back to council.

The mayor and Mr Clark would communicate formally at least once a week.

A large part of the duties were usually performed by the mayor, but Mr Clark would be assuming a more active role to address the leadership void at the council.

The changes follow an independent review by Richard Thomson last year which found a need for clarity around the deputy mayor’s role.

Mr Thomson found Sir Tim was struggling to fulfil significant aspects his mayoral role, resulting in a leadership void around the council table.

Mr Clark called the document a positive move for the council.

"But Invercargill’s situation is a bit different so we need to formalise it a little bit better as instructed in the Thomson report."

"It doesn’t take away any of the mayor’s duties because it would be inappropriate. What it does is Tim and I are up to be a team and to work together, share duties when necessary. So it will be unique to Invercargill."

Mr Clark had no concerns about salary for assuming more duties than a normal deputy mayor.

One of the two external appointees on the council, Jeff Grant, said the memorandum of understanding did not change Sir Tim’s role.

He said the document was a formalisation of the duties for when Sir Tim was not available or, on occasions, when it had a "more logical reason" for the deputy mayor to represent the council.

"We are just working through those mechanisms so that everybody is quite clear about who was role was, but the fundamental part, at the end of the day, it is the mayor who is responsible ... so we are making sure the mayor is driving the outcome of decisions.

"The MoU doesn’t, in any way, take any of the powers that exist because there are obligations under the Act."


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