It has come to BayBuzz’s attention that the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is advertising for candidates for the position of Chief Executive.
Now, before all you wannabe executive bureaucrats get too excited, this is purely a formality. The Regional Councillors have already conducted a performance review of the current incumbent, Andrew Newman, and set his pay.
As the advert on SEEK notes:
“The position of Chief Executive is being advertised as a vacancy in compliance with the Local Government Act 2002, under which the incumbent will also apply for the role. Applications close 4 pm on Friday 7 October 2011.”
In other words, ‘We’re happy with the incumbent … we’re not really serious about this … if we were, we’d conduct a search that would surely extend beyond 7 October.”
Still, it’s fun to speculate about what the truly mandatory qualifications for a Regional Council chief executive might be in a genuine job competition. Here are some possibilities:
Skills & Qualifications
1. Be less intelligent than Councillors, or, if that’s not feasible, be highly skilled at masking one’s intelligence.
2. Have no big or farsighted ideas, agendas or aspirations, or if that’s too constraining, be highly adept at either: a) camouflaging them, or b) crediting them with impressive humility to elected officeholders.
3. Ability to progress (or kill) controversial matters without leaving a paper trail or other fingerprints.
4. Strong commitment to never surprise Councillors with bad news, and when this is impossible, to shift the responsibility for such news to unreasonable stakeholders, central government, territorial authorities, and/or ex-staffers.
5. Uncanny knack for appointing only stakeholders to official consultative committees who will not challenge either: a) the status quo, or b) the staff’s preferred way forward. Ditto for consultants.
6. Shrewd ability to identify and retain only staff who understand and faithfully adhere to the institutional party line.
7. Precise understanding that Councillors need to know ‘just enough’, and nothing more that might confuse matters, invite inquiry or impede progress.
8. Personal composure and resilience to endure Councillors’ interrogations in public sessions with smiling equanimity, regardless of their merit.
9. Steadfast appreciation that Councillors — not facts, analyses, or public opinion — determine the public interest.
10. Unwavering loyalty to the Regional Council — and Regional Councillors — as the bulwark of sound governance, in the face of pesky distraction caused by incompetent territorial authorities and meddling central government.
Only candidates who can tick most of these boxes need apply.