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Harmonious Council? Staff turnover tells different story

Mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton says new figures showing Kāpiti Coast District Council’s annual staff turnover is running at nearly twice the New Zealand average for local government put paid to Mayor K Gurunathan’s claims of there being a harmonious Council.

The figures, obtained under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, reveal that Kāpiti Coast District Council’s voluntary turnover rate of 21 percent in the 12 months to 30 June 2019 is nearly twice the national average for local government of 11.5 percent.

“Mayor K Gurunathan is making big claims about Council being more harmonious under his leadership. Councillors might not be slapping each other with wet bus tickets in Code of Conduct hearings anymore, but on the ground Council is going through staff in a situation reminiscent of Nero fiddling while Rome burns,” says Mr Compton.

The high staff turnover figures also reinforce the findings from the report into the Waikanae Library toxic mould debacle, which specifically stated that high staff turnover and the loss of institutional knowledge were significant factors, and that these went “some way to understanding why the scale of the problem at Waikanae Library was not identified.”

“All of this suggests that our elected representatives have let down our community, and Council’s staff, in terms of carrying out their governance duties, especially under section 39 (d) of the Local Government Act, which requires local authorities to be good employers,” says Mr Compton.

“People leaving the organisation at such high rates suggests a toxic culture, which is costing ratepayers money through increased recruitment costs, and a less effectively run Council due to the lack of institutional knowledge and no staff continuity. As Mayor, I’ll use the independent review of Council as a lever to get real change. A well run Council, and one that is also a good employer, is one that will deliver quality services and good outcomes for our community."
Other incidents undermining Mayor K Gurunathan's claims of harmony during this term include the Mayor getting into a public spat with the Chamber of Commerce over a survey that criticised Council, and residents taking defamation action against him that ended up costing ratepayers at least $10,000.

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