Former Mayor Garry Moore slams Christchurch City Council restructure

Garry Moore.
Garry Moore.
Former Mayor Garry Moore has slammed Christchurch City Council’s modified executive leadership structure, calling it "extremely flawed".

In particular, he has claimed the vital importance of engineering has been diminished.

The restructure was announced by council chief executive Dawn Baxendale, who said the disestablishment of 13 roles and the creation of eight new roles would save between $600,000 and $700,000 a year.

Said Baxendale: “The structure provides a better balance between general managers responsible for delivering level of services to the community and those providing internal enabling support services.”

Moore wrote in a post to his The Tuesday Club at Smash Palace website: “My personal conclusion, having considered this new structure carefully, is that it is extremely flawed.

“The absence of engineering skills at executive level is a major concern.

“The new corporate structure has no engineer at the top table.”

Moore said the council’s finances were driven by engineering services.

“The CCC Long Term Plan was released (last week). The total operating expenditure and capital expenditure for Three Waters and transport over the next 10 years in $8.3 billion.

“Engineers drive organisational costs and at the CCC it is four levels down (the leadership structure) before there is anyone who has engineering qualifications.

“When we had earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 there were a number of chartered engineers at senior level in the CCC who saved this city by restoring the Three Waters (sewage, waste and drinking water).”

Dawn Baxendale.
Dawn Baxendale.
Moore, who was mayor from 1998 to 2007, expanded on his concerns to The Star emphasising: “When you look at the $8.3 billion being spent on staff, roads and sewers over the next 10 years you need people sitting in the management executive team who actually understand engineering.

There was always an engineer in the executive team during Moore’s tenure.

When asked to respond to Moore’s claim that there is an absence in engineers at city council executive level, or if he is  correct that a staff member with engineering qualifications is only involved at level four of the organisation, Baxendale said: “We have a staff member with a New Zealand Certificate in Engineering at tier 3 of the organisation. We also have employees known as construction professionals.”

She said nine engineers have resigned from the city council in the last six months, but three of these were fixed term positions.

She said in this time period, 16 new engineers have been hired – 14 permanently and two  temporarily.

Moore was also concerned the combined role of general manager [of] resources and chief financial officer has been separated.

He claimed the new general manager [of] resources, Miles McConway, was not a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand – as specified in the job description, so Leah Scales was appointed as the CFO.

“If you’re advertising for a position and saying it’s got to be a chartered accountant and then you appoint a CFO later on, that’s wrong,” Moore told The Star.

Miles McConway.
Miles McConway.
“There could have been other people who could have applied for that job (general manager resources/CFO) but thought I’m not a chartered accountant so I won’t apply.”

Baxendale said it is true McConway does not hold chartered accounting qualifications.

“That is correct. Mr McConway was the strongest candidate and has the experience to manage this complex role having been in a similar role in ECan,” she said.

“Leah Scales was appointed to a tier 3 role which includes CFO responsibilities, and Miles McConway to the role of general manager resources, following a national recruitment process which canvassed the skill sets required for both.”