New Wellington City Council CEO Kevin Lavery
Mayor Wade-Brown says the Council organisation and her Council colleagues are looking forward to working with Mr Lavery, saying he will bring strong leadership and fresh thinking to the Council at a time when the city and region faces big challenges.
"Mr Lavery has a wealth of experience and expertise to help guide our city through a time of considerable pressure," said the Mayor.
"Urban redevelopment for affordable housing, valuing our natural environment, city-wide transport planning, sustainable economic growth and shared services or amalgamation are some of the critical issues we face."
Mr Lavery was most recently the Chief Executive of Cornwall Council in southwest England, an area that has survived large cuts in central government support with its services largely intact. He was appointed after a decision to amalgamate seven councils into one but doesn’t assume that’s the right answer for Wellington. The Cornwall Peninsula has challenging social and economic issues and a coastline of outstanding natural beauty.
He was the youngest local government CEO when he was appointed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Newcastle has the UK’s most extensive light rail system outside of London, developed from the old heavy rail network. Newcastle is also the commercial and educational centre for North East England and, in partnership with nearby Gateshead, also the region’s cultural focus.
Mr Lavery has also worked for private enterprise in the area of telecommunications and IT. His doctorate is in Urban Studies.
The Mayor personally checked the credentials of Mr Lavery by talking to politicians from across the political spectrum with whom he has worked at the Cornwall Council and, prior to that, in Newcastle.
They included the Cornwall Council Leader Jim Currie, the former Leader, Alec Robertson, and North Durham Labour MP and former Newcastle Councillor Kevan Jones.
"Kevin has had success in providing affordable and quality services in challenging local government environments. His career thus far shows he can work with people across the political spectrum, and in a variety of geographies," said the Mayor.
"His strategic thinking, telecommunications background and urban regeneration experience will be welcome. The Council is excited about the skills he brings to this role, and we welcome his arrival to Wellington."
Dr Lavery has been appointed for five years with an annual salary package of $400,000.