Or are they?

Over the Waitangi holiday weekend (when I’m sure you were all paying close attention!), the Napier Council ran an advert indicating that applications would be accepted, until March 6, for the position of Napier Chief Executive.

The term of the current incumbent, Neil Taylor, will expire on 30 June of this year. And, as the advert says, the Council is required to declare a vacancy and advertise its intention to appoint a CE for a term beginning July 1. The advert notes that “the current incumbent is expected to apply” — a not-so-subtle message that any “challenger” faces an uphill battle.

One certainly gets the impression that this “invitation” is a pro forma exercise. I wasn’t able to get information on where else or when this advert might have appeared. (It might have run in the East Timor Gazette … I’m still checking!)

Now, maybe Neil Taylor is hands-down the ideal CE for Napier, and a real search for alternative candidates would be pointless … a nuisance for busy Councillors.

Perhaps Mr. Taylor still comes to work each day spewing new ideas, championing outside-the-box thinking, rooting out cobwebs and challenging the status quo. Certainly that’s what Napier ratepayers have the right to expect … especially as the city and region faces pretty tough times ahead.

But, considering that Mr. Taylor has been Napier’s CE for seventeen years (since 1992), and has been employed by the Napier Council since 1982, one might legitimately question whether it’s time for some fresh thinking and rejuvenation at the top of the NCC’s 500 employee fiefdom.

One would hope that the Napier Council might launch into an energetic search — like the Hastings and Regional Councils recently did — casting a wide net and testing the waters to see what kind of talent might be floating around these days.

For the peace of mind of ratepayers, the Napier Council should require Mr. Taylor to make the case in a genuinely competitive arena, against worthy “opponents” actively identified, that his experience and prior performance trumps fresh blood (assuming equally impressive performance). Let the best man or woman win! Another term shouldn’t be viewed as a “default” reward.

But I’d be surprised if real choices are what the Napier Council has in mind.

Tom Belford

P.S. Speaking of Chief Executives and fresh blood, today marks the one year anniversary of Ross McLeod as CE of Hastings. So far he’s managed to duck an interview with BayBuzz, claiming he’s a mere “servant” of the elected Councillors. If CE’s didn’t make a difference, HDC wouldn’t have switched horses, would they? You can’t hide forever, Ross!

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1 Comment

  1. Couldn''t agree more Tom, Been there too long!

    I too hope the latest advertisement for a new Napier Council CEO, is GENUINE and simply not a sham to comply with the Local Goverment Act, but more an opportunity for all honest Napier citizens and hard working council staff to get its self a good new leader! For I found during my term on Council, CEO Taylor was as slippery as an ell in a bucket of slime. A control freak and silver tongued wordsmith. Who was totally adverse to change and any New ideas and criticism from fresh New councillors

    The only good Ideas -were his or his fellow paid officials. Only need take a wee look at Council Agendas to see who's making / reccomending the changes to policy etc All he ever needs is the

    compliant Mayor and her councillors rubber stamp! Whereas his job should be to implement policy -not make it.

    I say these things with very valid reasons, which I will back up accordingly.

    I participated on Council the time before last when he applied to have his employment contract renewed. At that time he stated he could not delegate, that wherever he was in the world, he would have to phone-up to see if the Council was managing to get by without him. That he was owed a lot of untaken leave. He had stated that someone had thrown bricks onto his homes roof, a councillor( former policeman asked if the brick thrower was present) and claimed that he had received malicious phone calls to his home and this had caused him to change his telephone number and that someone had squirted tomato sauce in his mailbox, which resulted in ruining a young female Japanese students mail & CD, he had with kind staying with him. All this, he claimed to have reported to the police. I sugested, that I believed I was more controversial than him, and that I have never ever had anything the likes of that happen to me. On checking, I could find No record of Mr Taylor changing his telephone number. As for his police complaint-I do not know?

    That along with him stating to Council that he could not delegate (which I understand is still the case today!) translates that Mr taylor trusts none of his colleagues but himself! That was one of the many reasons why I could not support his re-appointment.

    The other reasons are as follows.

    When former mayor Alan Dick and Mr Taylor had a widely publicised spat over who should do what and when. It was agreed they have the City Solicitors draw up a NZ first! Protocl Agreement.. But what Mr Taylor never told Mayor Dick was that the same city solicitors also worked and acted for him privately. How ethical is that. For when in any event a couple splits up -the first thing a solicitor tells them both -sorry I can no longer act for either of you-go find a new independent solicitor.

    As most people would agree, familiarity breeds contempt! And I sincerely believe Mr taylor used that familiarirty for his own personal gain.

    Documents clearly show that Mr Tayor and a senior Council Manager used and abused their possition by thier misuse -coruption of council (ratepayers funds.for their own private business. The irony being, that iIf any Joe Blow Council employee was to do the same I am sure Mr taylor would Not hesitate in sacking the person on the spot!

    Further Council documents, clearly show Mr taylor signing

    off Building consents he had a personal interest in.

    Land Information NZ Ltd Certificate of Titles and Transfer documents, clearly show Mr Taylor and the Services Manager and

    their spouse's along

    long with some members of the City Solicitors involved with a subdivision and a holiday home near Mahia Beach.

    Further Land Information NZ clearly show Mr Taylor and Mr titter's used spouses names on land from a major contractor to Council (

    Tony tuck of Tuck Contractors on which to build them another joint holiday home in Taupo.

    All this from a individual that has the blatant temerity to contact the Controller and Auditor General about my and another elected members potential conflict of Intersts. All of which he had provided to Audit Control totally incorrect information about the member -giving the pathetic excuse that he was trying to protect the member. Yea -right -I believe in the tooth fairy too!

    I consider it absolutely disgraceful that a CEO of 15 years experiance needs to be directed by the Auditor General to its Code of Good Practise.

    Knowing Mayor Barbara thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread and he can walk on water,all no doubt because his stlye of

    control along with his long serving hand picked grey haired cohorts running the the whole bang, lot with the occasional throwing of a few crumbs to appease some councillors, gives her worship more time to focus on her own private business ventures with little interuption.

    For that, I only hope the majority of councillors will have the intestinal fortitude Not to allow themselves to succumb to any amount of from upon high undue influence, but to follow their own instincts.and select the best applicant for the job.

    As you would of guesed by now -I, as do others, have a total lack of appreciation of Mr Taylor

    Time for a change -new blood!

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