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Senior Auckland Council jobs on the line: Response to Brown's call to cut bureaucracy

Author
Bernard Orsman,
Publish Date
Sat, 9 Mar 2024, 1:21pm
Senior jobs are on the line at Auckland Council.
Senior jobs are on the line at Auckland Council.

Senior Auckland Council jobs on the line: Response to Brown's call to cut bureaucracy

Author
Bernard Orsman,
Publish Date
Sat, 9 Mar 2024, 1:21pm

Senior jobs are on the line at Auckland Council in response to calls from Mayor Wayne Brown to reduce layers of bureaucracy and duplication.  

Chief executive Phil Wilson has issued a proposal with fewer roles in his executive leadership team and dozens of general manager roles disestablished.  

A small number of executive assistants are also impacted by the creation of a more streamlined structure for the senior ranks. 

The massive shake-up follows more than 500 jobs losses across the council and council-controlled organisations (CCOs) last year as part of Brown’s first, cost-cutting budget. 

Auckland Council chief executive Phil Wilson.Auckland Council chief executive Phil Wilson. 

In an 83-page document on the proposed changes, called ‘Strengthen our Leadership for the future’, Wilson said after 13 years, and events like a global pandemic, severe weather, and rising inflation, it was time to refresh the senior leadership and create fewer, bigger general manager roles. 

In a statement to the Herald, Wilson said because the process has just started and there are different scenarios in some areas “It’s far too soon to say exactly how many positions will be disestablished and how many will be created, although we do anticipate it to be a net reduction”. 

Wilson said there is a lot of great talent in the top two tiers and anticipated a number of these people being successful in getting roles in the new structure. 

The proposal is out for consultation after being unveiled to staff on Thursday. The final structure is expected to be confirmed on May 2, and the changes are pencilled in to go live on June 22. 

Phil Wilson said severe weather and other changes meant it's time to refresh the senior ranks at the council. Photo / RNZ, Nick MonroPhil Wilson said severe weather and other changes meant it's time to refresh the senior ranks at the council. Photo / RNZ, Nick Monro 

The proposed model would see Wilson’s executive leadership team shrink from nine to seven, and more than 40 general manager roles are proposed to be disestablished. 

Under the proposed “smaller, more focused executive team” there will be six teams. 

Group finance 
Community delivery 
Resilience and infrastructure delivery 
Group shared services 
Policy, planning, and governance 
Office of the chief executive with a strategic focus 

Wilson emphasised the shake-up is not about reducing staff numbers or meeting a savings target, although finding savings is a key priority for the organisation. 

“This proposal is one piece of work we have underway to help us set ourselves up for the future and effectively deliver on the Long-Term Plan(also known as the 10-year budget) and for Aucklanders,” he said. 

Brown, who has called for reduced layers of bureaucracy and management and more work reducing duplication across the council group, welcomed the refresh to cut the number of senior managers. 

“I support focusing the organisation on the provision of good frontline services and I’ve always believed we can do that better with managers who are closer to the frontline delivery. 

 

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has called for cuts to the bureaucracy and duplication. Photo /  Michael CraigAuckland Mayor Wayne Brown has called for cuts to the bureaucracy and duplication. Photo / Michael Craig 

“Aucklanders want a council that can get things done better, faster, and cheaper. 

“These proposed changes will make an important contribution to the additional $20 million savings target we set for council in the Long-term Plan, alongside other efficiency initiatives that are underway such as bringing CCOs into the council offices, and shared services,” he said. 

Brown said this is what he was elected to deliver, and now it’s over to Wilson to work through the details with staff. 

During the 2022 election campaign, Brown said there was “an oversupply of people in upper and middle management” and vowed to get the chief executive to cut top salaries between 10 per cent and 30 per cent. 

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