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Compass Reset Completed for Rotorua Council New Direction

News Release

Friday 1 August 2014

Compass Reset Completed for Rotorua Council New Direction

Rotorua District Council’s new structure is now in place following a realignment aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation to support the new direction set by councillors.

By following a strategy of attrition and absorbing vacant positions, the core organisation has been reduced by 66 full time equivalent (FTE) positions, equating to 30 staff becoming redundant following the realignment process.

Mayor Steve Chadwick said while it had not been a painless process, the council was now tailored and strengthened for the future, to support the Rotorua 2030 vision.

The vision represents the community’s aspirational goals, setting seven long-term objectives and four shorter term priorities to achieve this.

Mrs Chadwick said the realignment had been a very important part of setting a path which required sustainable infrastructure and affordable and effective council services to support Council’s new direction.

“This work started during last year’s election and has added quite a bit of pressure on the organisation and the staff. It’s exciting to see the organisation now on a new course but we also acknowledge that some staff are moving on. Some have given great service to our community and we thank them for that and wish them the best.

“We will start to see the benefits of the realignment flowing into the community across the next two years,” Mrs Chadwick said.

Council Chief Executive Geoff Williams said the organisation had done its best to honour the new direction required while retaining employees where possible.

“The new council is looking to work in a different way to achieve its vision for Rotorua so things had to change within the organisation,” he said.

“By freezing vacancies last year we were able to make changes internally to reduce the FTE numbers and we have also reduced our management tiers. If we hadn’t done this, I believe we would have had a much larger number of staff and roles affected by the changes we needed to make.”

Mr Williams said he was confident a leaner, more efficient and effective organisation, which would be more proactive and responsive to community needs, had emerged.

“The organisation has to be able to deliver on the community’s aspirations, as articulated by council in the 2016 priorities and the 2030 vision. The organisation is now shaped in a way to deliver that,” he said.

“That has been the driver for the realignment, along with the challenge we’ve faced around financial sustainability.”

Six levels of management have been reduced to four and staff will now work in project teams rather than in isolation on different parts of projects. Council has also adopted an integrated consenting approach and will focus on being more strategy-led and enhancing partnerships.

“The organisation is clearer about where it is going, how it is working with the community and adopting more of a solutions and partnership role,” Mr Williams said.

The redesign of the organisation began late last year while RDC staff had been involved in shaping the final outcome during phased consultation across February through June of 2014.




Quality recruitments made through the realignment process are set to reinvigorate the council, says Chief Executive Geoff Williams.

“Interest in roles has been fantastic,” he said. “It’s an exciting time for the organisation with some really talented individuals emerging through the recruitment phase to secure roles, all bringing fresh skills, ideas and enthusiasm to our city.”

The recruitment process attracted hundreds of applications and several hundred interviews were conducted, Mr Williams said.

Recruitment of 100 staff for new or altered positions had been a major task, conducted in two phases during the last two months.

Interviews for internally advertised positions open only to current staff were completed in early July while those for externally advertised roles, open to both current staff and external applicants, will finish this week.

Mr Williams said high calibre external candidates from across the country applied for positions.

Key appointments include Stavros Michael (currently Wellington’s Director of Infrastructure) as Transport Solutions Director; Rob Pitkethley (currently Eastern Region Fish and Game Manager) as Sport and Recreation Manager; Jason Ward (currently Cheal Consultants) as planning lead; Richard Bird (Waiariki Institute of Technology) as People and Capability Manager; and Michael Hewerdine (currently in the council’s property team) as Property and Investment Manager.

Successful applicants not already on staff are expected to take up their positions over the next two months with most internal appointments already in their new roles.


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