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Masterton District Council: Staff restructure proposed

An email circulated to Masterton District Council staff this week from Chief Executive Kym Fell warns of proposed staff restructures, including disestablishing five senior managers and establishing four new roles.

Beginning by greeting staff, Fell said he hoped everyone was “relaxed and ready to go for another year” and noted his impression of MDC since joining three months ago.

“Masterton District Council is a “well-run organisation with dedicated individuals making substantial contributions to our community.”

He said the year ahead promised to be exceptionally busy, marked by the Long Term Plan [LTP] adoption, discussions around local government amalgamation, heightened government demands and a focus on renewing critical assets and infrastructure.

“Additionally, the Affordable Waters Reform [3 Waters] is taking a new direction, and our business as usual [BAU] operations carry demanding workloads, all amid increasing financial pressures,” Fell said.

“Considering these challenges and the need for a focus on continued excellence, I want to let you know about some strategic adjustments that will contribute to our overall efficiency.”

Recognising the importance of being in “peak operational shape”, Fell said he was proposing changes at the senior leadership level.

“These changes aim to achieve more balanced portfolios, a reduced number of direct reports, and improved labour cost efficiencies,” Fell said.

“Specifically, the proposed changes involve disestablishing five current Senior Leadership Team [SLT] roles and establishing four new roles.

“There will also be adjustments in reporting lines for some existing teams who will report into a new Executive Leadership Team [ELT] structure.”

Through a revised structure, Fell said teams would be able to make decisions with confidence, knowing they will have the support of their new ELT and to ensure that portfolios are more aligned, customer-centric, and outcomes-focused.

“This could mean adjustments may be needed within portfolios as the proposed new structure is embedded; they will be at the direction and discretion of the ELT member concerned alongside their new teams.”

Fell confirmed to the Times-Age that the roles proposed for disestablishment included manager roles for community facilities and activities, assets and operations, strategy and governance, regulatory services and communications and engagement.

He said that internal consultation began over the past week and that those in these roles had been notified, but until consultation was complete and all feedback had been considered, a final structure and new roles could not be confirmed.

The final structure will dictate any labour cost efficiencies, which Fell anticipates being confirmed within the next few weeks.

“Any good organisation periodically reviews itself to double-check they’re fit-for-purpose and operating efficiently.

“We owe it to our ratepayers to do the same.”

Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell said he “100 per cent supported” the changes.

“He’s a very experienced leader in local government, and he’s taken a very close look at our organisation and obviously believes that there are opportunities for changes to be made,” Caffell said.

“I think that’s very healthy.”

He said it was his job as mayor to ensure the organisation had enough staff to make sure it was working efficiently.

“I’m more than happy that he’s had a close look at what’s needed and come up with a structure to make the place a more efficient and productive unit.”

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Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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