Press Release – Paul Eagle
A group of Wellington City Councillors have called for an extraordinary meeting to discuss the future of its in-house works unit, CitiOperations, after learning the proposed outsourcing of its remaining work would result in the unit’s demise.
Councillor Paul Eagle who initiated the meeting says councillors need further information before anything happened to the unit.
“This is a core council service with a century of institutional knowledge. The current proposals could mean the city’s infrastructure needs are exposed and leave us vulnerable.”
The meeting will take place on 4 April – the same week that Dr. Kevin Lavery starts his new job as the WCC chief executive.
At the meeting, councillors will vote on whether to have an independent review of CitiOperations. They will also consider the pros and cons of transitioning CCTV (closed circuit television) drainage operations to City Care Limited and the decision not to put in an in-house bid for a street cleaning contract.
“Staff at CitiOps are dismayed as many have proudly served their city for over 25 years. Some feel that they’re no longer welcome at city hall, in their traditional work boots and high viz vests. I’m looking forward to talking with Dr. Lavery about this when he arrives,” Councillor Eagle said.
Councillor Justin Lester says the in-house workforce used to contribute to Wellington’s success as the events capital.
“It’s used to distinguish us from other cities because we were able to deploy staff to help with major events at a moment’s notice while helping deliver cost-effective community festivals.”
Councillor Stephanie Cook asked about the validity of the proposals, considering the two year battle that ended with the council in 2001 reversing its decision to sell CitiOperations, “We have a council resolution that clearly states CitiOperations should be retained.”
Councillor Leonie Gill said she was concerned about a plethora of contractors doing city business without appropriately branding the city connection and acknowledging ratepayer funding.
“It’s more than just displaying the Absolutely Positively Wellington logo. It’s about owning and demonstrating our values, delivering community services in a way we expect and delivering the city’s key messages to citizens.”
Councillor Eagle said the group was being vigilant about the $100m the council spends on infrastructure work each year, most of which was contracted out.
“Councillors need more information than we currently get, so we can make a strategic decision on the future of CitiOperations and the outsourcing of core public services,” he said.
The extraordinary meeting was supported Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Councillors Stephanie Cook, Paul Eagle, Leonie Gill, Justin Lester, Iona Pannett, Bryan Pepperell and Helene Ritchie.