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Strong local skillset

Local people are demonstrating their skillset with around 90 percent of Wairoa District Council staff vacancies being filled by people living locally or returning home.

Wairoa District Council chief executive Steven May said it is great to have people with Wairoa connections who are able to bring their qualifications and skills home.

“In 2014, a Functional Review of the Council, undertaken by Local Government New Zealand, directed the Council work to develop a greater focus on the delivery of quality customer service.

“A component of my role has been to determine the organisation’s effectiveness and implementing the recommendations from the review ,through last year’s reorganisation.

“As a result, additional resourcing requirements were identified as necessary for Council to meet its increasing compliance obligations and service delivery objectives.

“The changes will see us employing more staff compared to last year, and we have balanced that with a reduction in consultancy costs. 

“A full time Employee (FTE) is calculated as working 40 hours per week so, if two people work 20 hours per week the total staff number increases, with a slight variation in cost. 

“Fixed term contracts are created to cover parental leave for permanent staff or for a specific projects.

“It is essential we get the balance right between Council remaining agile enough to respond to the needs of the community and meet our legislative requirements through personnel efficiencies and prudency. 

“The reorganisation removed a Senior Leadership role which enabled two frontline positions to be created.”

Mr May said the increase in FTEs includes an additional and much needed 1.6 full-time equivalent staff in the finance department. 

“An audit last year conducted by MBIE highlighted human resource areas that needed addressing. As a result, two positions, a Building Compliance Officer and a Regulatory Administration Officer were created to ensure we are able to comply with central government legislation and safeguard the  integrity of our records.

“I have a statutory duty to ensure Council is not put at risk by non-compliance relating to increasing central Government legislation. Inclusive of this is a constant review of aspects of Council business and where rationalisation can take place.

“Council has not had a safe vehicle storage space in the past, so staff have traditionally taken vehicles home to keep them safe, planning is underway to have a secured yard.

“I am focussed on reducing the overall vehicle fleet and increasing the use of pool vehicles to gain efficiency. Three vehicles have recently been removed from the fleet for a total saving of $105K plus operating costs.

“A pool system is a rationalisation of our assets, and I believe it works well. For example, my council supplied vehicle is able to be used by staff, as it’s a council asset.”

Mr May has also reviewed the Council’s phone usage and by capitalising on Council’s buying power has identified saving around $15,000 a year.

“It’s important we continuously review our staffing levels and our expenses.

“Change is constant and with it comes both opportunity and investment making sure we are in the best position to realise that.”

16 April 2019

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