Wellington Scoop

Garry Poole to be replaced after 15 years as city council’s chief executive

News from Wellington City Council
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has confirmed that she and Councillors have chosen a new candidate for the position of Chief Executive at Wellington City Council.

The decision was reached at last evening’s Council meeting. “All elected members expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the work that Garry Poole has overseen in this city over the last fifteen years.”

Mayor Wade-Brown says she will work closely with the Council’s Executive Leadership Team and Mr Poole to ensure a smooth transition for staff, projects and the city.

She says she will share the preferred candidate’s name with the organisation in the near future, once negotiations are complete.

In a statement to staff, Mr Poole said: “As you can appreciate, it is a decision that for me is a significant disappointment. I am enormously proud of Wellington and what we have done to help it build an international reputation as a remarkable place to live, work, visit and play.”

Mr Poole adds in his message to staff: “I have great confidence that we will all ensure that the change will do nothing to disrupt the quality and consistency of the Council’s work.”

Neither the Mayor nor Mr Poole will make further comment.

DomPost: Englishman appointed as new chief executive

August 31: Council tells Garry Poole to reapply for his job
August 31: Will he keep his job?
August 30: Performance review committee meets
June 15: Job cuts at the council


  1. Dave, 20. December 2012, 18:02

    The Mayor finally exerting and leading some citizen pressure for a change of attitude that will, in my opinion, remove some of the arrogance and distancing from the ratepayers that the council management has exhibited under Mr Poole. Yes, it’s time to allow fresh thinking and leadership to emerge within the WCC management team to help the city tackle the challenges of the coming years. 15 years, in my opinion, is too long for anyone to be the Town Clerk.

  2. greenwelly, 21. December 2012, 9:03


    Err, you have seen who they appointed,

    Dr Lavery’s has been the driving force behind cost-cutting measures including the outsourcing of council services.

    Dr Lavery’s previous roles include two years as boss of information technology company Serco Solutions, one year at telecommunications company BT as director of local and regional government, and a year as managing director for infrastructure management firm Enterprise PLC.


  3. Rosamund, 21. December 2012, 9:07

    It appears that our elected representatives are determined to further eviscerate the ranks of experienced Council Staff by appointing a “new” chap from England with a history as a “hatchet man”. Disregarding a potential “Longstone” outcome, the first lesson for this new CEO will be to learn that New Zealand has a local government sector long decentralised from central government unlike the UK model which is centralised but in the process of de-centralising. The most important difference is that we have a long standing Local Government Meetings and Information Act which is intended to increase transparency and the formal oversight of the Office of the Auditor General.

    Will the induction of this new CEO include advice on the different culture he is entering including one that respects culture and the environment beyond anything dreamed of in the UK, as I understand it. I look forward to hearing that the new CEO is preparing himself by openly engaging with the people of Wellington, not just with those who have selected him for this significantly influential role and who will later next year be offering themselves for re-election.

  4. Kakap, 21. December 2012, 10:34

    If the Council had not been operated in the narrow interests of only a few for the last fifteen years, a decent line of succession would have been developed. After all, the pay is huge enough to have attracted suitable deputies, etc., and to have kept them on board. The fact that this has not happened is just one of the bigger failings of the last fifteen years.
    I hope that Dr Lavery is greeted with warmth by all Councillors in spite of the divisions which were so sadly created by the policies which Mr Poole promoted. Dr Lavery will surely be greeted with typical warmth by all other Wellingtonians.

  5. Guy, 21. December 2012, 12:22

    Kakap, care to enlighten us with what you know? I have no idea if you are being serious or satirical when you talk of “divisions …sadly created by policies” – what are they? We, the public, have no idea… I also am bemused by your comment “Dr Lavery will surely be greeted with typical warmth” – surely you jest?
    Cost-cutting hatchet men are rarely welcomed by anyone, especially those about to be hatcheted. Seeing the ruckus that is raised each year by the proposed deletion of the Mobile Library, then the prospect of having the whole Library “out-sourced” is going to be a major warzone…

  6. John H, 21. December 2012, 13:03

    Despite what many think, I believe that the WCC runs a pretty tight financial ship. There are probably a few areas which can be tightened up but it is far cry from the Cornwall Council that Lavery is coming from. Yes the population (c.500k) and size of Cornwall is bigger than Wellington but the Cornwall Council has a jaw-dropping 123 councillors (actually only 122 at the moment as one of them has died) and has a staggering 22000+ employees. The easy tricks he pulled to save money in a gargantuan TLA with plenty of fat to cut may not work so well here. Also concerning is his previous ties to BT and Serco. When he went to contract out Council services, guess which companies got those contracts? BT doesn’t have much of a presence here but Serco definitely does.

  7. Old Girl, 21. December 2012, 15:04

    Over a number of years and the last one in particular there has been “hatchet” work going on at the council and in general the “good” ones have left rather than reapply. It would be interesting to see the staff turnover figures. Another interesting point: the CEO does not appear to front up to the media or ratepayers on council matters, but leaves this to a council officer Richard McLean.

  8. Trish, 21. December 2012, 15:27

    It will be interesting to see what golden parachute provisions are included in the new chap’s contract. But I am sure he will apply his blowtorch to himself as much as to others. I hope he was told abut the looming council amalgamations. The scheme may not be ready in time for the elections due next October, but the government now has the power to postpone the elections by 12 months. By the end of 2014 the 8 CEOs will be playing musical chairs with space for only one shiny bottom.