The chief executive of the Kaipara District Council, Graham Sibery, has resigned his position after just over a year in the job, with his departure effective on Friday.
A statement from Mayor Greg Gent said Mr Sibery “resigned on Friday 25 August 2017.
“The council wishes to acknowledge the contribution that Graham has made while in the CEO role and wishes him well for the future. His last day in the office is September 1, although he will be available ‘if needed’ after that date for a short period. A process will begin immediately to find a successor.”
Asked for further details, Mr Gent said that employment agreements remained a private matter under the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Privacy Act 1993.
Mr Sibery arrived on July 4 last year, appointed by the then KDC commissioners, three months prior to the local body elections which restored a mayor and council.
He had a background in rail transport in Australia and New Zealand but was hired while holidaying in Europe.
In a separate employment-related issue, Mr Gent has also welcomed a report by the Taxpayers Union lobby group which claimed KDC staff are ‘New Zealand’s best paid’.
“I support any group who attempts to judge council performance so welcome the report,” he said.
The union published a ‘Ratepayer’s Report’ last week which claimed that ‘compared to every other council in New Zealand, KDC pays a higher proportion of its staff a salary over $100,000 — almost double the national average of ten per cent’.
“Not only are staff paid the big bucks, Kaipara District also has the highest ratio of staff to ratepayers in Northland. As a result Kaipara ratepayers pay more for staff costs than anywhere else in Northland,” said union director Jordan Williams. “The only positive is that Kaipara has the most assets on a per-ratepayer basis in the region.” The union also claimed KDC had refused to respond to its requests for rates information.
Mr Gent said he was not aware of any such request.
“I was not aware that this group had sought information from us. If our system allows the information they required to be separately identified, it will be made available to them for the accounting year that this council has largely been responsible for. We support open disclosure wherever possible “The basis of comparison as I read it is residential rates. We of course have a high level of rural rates so I am unsure if that skews our result.
“As to staff paid over 100K — we have a CEO and six direct reports, all of whom would be in that category. For a larger council they would have the same as we do, so it’s an area where we suffer a dis-economy of scale. For example an engineer costs the same whether they work for a large or small council.”