Rumours have been floating about that a significant reorganisation of the Hastings Council staff is afoot.

We asked CEO Ross McLeod to clarify the situation. Here’s what he had to say via an email to BayBuzz received today:

“In July last year I started an organisational development programme aimed at improving the capability of the organisation to help Council and its communities meet the challenges they face and achieve their goals. This is an ongoing change initiative that comprises of several components which will variously address processes and systems, culture, structure, integration and coordination, and the way we work and the approach we have as an organisation. It runs alongside the future planning and LTCCP work we have been and are working with the community on.

As part of the organisation development programme we undertook some initial capability analysis work. Following that I drafted the first phase of a reorganisation proposal which was the subject of consultation with staff, in particular those likely to be potentially directly affected in an employment sense.

That consultation period has now come to an end and I have finalised my decisions as to the changes in the first phase. There are a number of changes signalled in terms of changed groupings and accountabilities within the organisation. Just as importantly significant changes in approach and leadership culture are signalled as being required. In terms of changes to existing roles, the first phase focuses on the executive management or leadership layer of the organisation. Phase two will look at other teams and roles in the organisation and will commence in the latter half of the year.

The impact of the changes is that six of the seven roles on the current Executive Management Team are to be disestablished. Six new and substantially different roles are created in their place. As they are substantially different roles, in line with our internal policies they will all be advertised later this month on the open market. Applications from existing staff have been welcomed as part of this process.

Until such time as changes to the leadership structure have been made, the existing structure and team remains in place. Implementation of the proposed structure is likely to occur from end May onward.”

Sounds pretty significant to me. One year in, the CEO is moving to put his stamp on the Hastings Council. As he indicated to me, Mr. McLeod has conferred with the Mayor and Counsellors, but he notes: “… the legal responsibility for organisation management and employment matters lies with the Chief Executive.“

Adding to the importance of these changes is the proposal about to be signaled in the HDC long term plan (LTCCP) to embark on a “customer service” initiative, complete with building additions (a new “customer service centre”) and customer relationship management systems and software costing around $5 million.

” Customer service” is much more a matter of staff culture than it is infrastructure, and in that regard I emphasize these words of the CEO: “Just as importantly significant changes in approach and leadership culture are signalled as being required.” Indeed! This is the improvement many in the community are waiting to see.

Ross McLeod regards all of this as what Americans call “inside baseball” — that is, only of interest to the players directly involved. But he’s wrong about that. Plenty of people in the community interact with staff and cope with precisely the attitudes, messy processes, and confusing responsibilities that he has apparently set about to fix.

So we all have a stake in his reorganisation … and we look forward to reaping its rewards.

Tom Belford

P.S. Meanwhile, over in Napier, rumour has it that Neil Taylor has been re-signed to a lifetime contract as CEO, after a non-competition for the post. Everyone at NCC can go back to sleep now. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

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3 Comments

  1. What can one say about the Napier City Council?

    Sources within the council had indicated to me that as far as advertising Mr Taylors job it was just a case of "going thru the motions"!!!!!

    [ like a drowning man in a sewage pond -can't swim but going thru the motions]

    Nothing will change while this tired old hack remains as the 'power behind the throne'. I have heard him described as a 'power freak' and other stuff Tom would wip off this site if I posted it.

    But there are also 'jobs for life' for many of Napier City Councils staff. Up and coming young , more up to date, staff go elsewhere to find career advancement or simply get dumbed down by the system.

    Worse still rumours fly about some members of this council and other people in the city ;and I have to be careful here, that could be described as " insider trading, incestous type goings on !"

    But hey it's OK we got Art Deco – well we did have -not so sure now?

  2. Tom – can you post more info on this?

    Is there a document?

    Axing 'six of the seven roles on the current Executive Management Team' … and … 'Six new and substantially different roles are created in their place.'

    This is more than significant. It's a total rearrangement of the Management structure with great opportunity.

    'Just as importantly significant changes in approach and leadership culture are signalled as being required'

    I'm eager to know what aspects of leadership culture Ross has identified as needing change. He inherited Ocean Beach, Nelson Park, the Expressway, and the Sports Park, all of which are the pet projects of HDC political leadership.

    He must have been shocked when he read the files and realised how Politics had warped Management into manipulating processes as 'the means justifies the end'

    Then in the Ngatarawa case HDC were told their District Scheme was near to worthless in implementing the planning objectives.

    I applaud Ross McLead for making radical changes at HDC.

    Hopefully he's a supporter of the Local Government Act and aims to foster participative decision making.

  3. Hastings does need some radical changes, though how many can be solved by the personnel department and how many by the next election is hard to tell. Too many councils appear to be old, lumbering dinosaurs, or at least be helmed by the figureheads thereof.

    Meanwhile, parts of my sooth-saying are coming true – what the hell went wrong there? Art Deco Trust has all sorts of fun and games as noses and "personalities" get wrinkled, ruffled and renewed and, to quote Tom 's economic report: "Apparently 40% of the region’s 2008 sauvignon blanc remains to be sold, with the further suggestion that a lot of 2009 grapes will be left on the vine". Strike two? I'll be keeping a close eye on the "Hot & Not" columns!!

    At least McLean Park will be hosting two pool games in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and, we can hope, one of the competition's teams.

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