Playing spectacularly against type, Steve turned private investigator in the early 1990s on a hunch that something was amiss in the Council's parking revenue unit - income from the parking meters was not what it should have been - but the cause was not obvious. His suspicions eventually led to a top-secret inquiry into the activities of two staff members who had the mundane but essential job of counting and banking thousands of dollars in coins from the meters every day.
An apparently-scorned ex-wife of one of the staffers, together with a hidden camera and a police 'sting' eventually led to the conviction and jailing of the two employees who, quietly over the years, had stolen at least $1.5 million from the Council - all in coins.
Steve, with his tinder-dry Yorkshire wit, says the investigation did have humorous angles.
"One of the guys used to regularly get on the overnight train to Auckland with a heavy bag containing thousands in coins - he had dodgy dairy owners in towns along the Main Trunk who were laundering the cash for him.
"One of them was also driving a Corvette Stingray - a bit unusual for a Council employee..."
Steve says he's worked for eight mayors and more than 60 different councillors, six CEOs and 12 business unit managers or directors. "I believe establishing solid working relationships and trust is the key to achieving results.”
After processing an estimated 200,000 emails, attending around 10,000 meetings, taking 30,000 phone calls and writing untold reports and letters, Steve says he's looking forward to more time for numerous other things - taking on the role as President of Wellington North Rotary Club in July, more bowling, catching up with family, watching the progress of Let’s Get Wellington Moving, "and writing letters to the Dominion Post".