Gore District Council’s chief executive, Stephen Parry has resigned.
The announcement comes amidst a fractured relationship between Parry and Gore’s first-term Mayor, Ben Bell - the pair at one stage hardly talking to each other for months.
In a statement on behalf of the Mayor and Councillors, intermediary Councillor Richard McPhail said the council was grateful to Parry “for his tremendous work over the years”.
McPhail said Parry had been a champion for Gore and its ratepayers and he was a senior figure on Southland’s local government landscape.
“Steve has a wealth of knowledge and is well respected in local government circles,” said McPhail.
Gore District Council chief executive Stephen Parry has resigned. Photo / Otago Daily Times
In the statement, Bell said the Council “was hopeful Mr Parry would assist with the transition to a new chief executive”.
Parry joined the Council as chief executive over two decades ago, in September 2001.
During his time, he served as the president of Taituarā, formerly the Society of Local Government Managers. He was also the Australasian vice-president of ICMA, an international association for local government professionals.
In an email sent to staff today, McPhail said Parry expressed his pride in serving as chief executive and the culture that had been forged at the Council.
“I leave with no regrets and a fair degree of excitement about what lies ahead.”
Recruitment for a new chief executive will commence immediately, Bell said.
“The process will take about six months, which means we will be looking to appoint an interim chief executive in due course.”
Parry told the Herald in April his relationship with Bell was “very strained” at the time. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Gore District Council made headlines in October last year when Ben Bell, 23, became the youngest-ever elected mayor.
What followed was a soap drama of feuds, controversies, boycotts and resignations within the council as his relationship with Parry worsened over time.
In March, journalists were tipped off that an intermediary was being used to work between Bell and Parry, as well as news Bell had walked out of a closed-doors in-committee meeting.
The pair had been having one-on-one meetings since the start of the year but shortly after the meeting, Parry said they wouldn’t continue.
Parry told the Herald in April his relationship with Bell was “very strained” at the time.
“Trust has… eroded significantly,” he said.
Bell was tight-lipped about what went wrong, he said it was an employment matter and wouldn’t comment on what took place.
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