Council CEO - announcement

5 September 2019

Wellington City Council Chief Executive Kevin Lavery has announced that he will not be submitting an application for reappointment to his position following a successful five-year contract term and a two year extension.

WCC CEO Kevin Lavery

“I have had the honour and privilege of leading the Wellington City Council since 31 March 2013. I have advised the Mayor and Councillors today that I will not be submitting an application to be appointed as Chief Executive in the current recruitment,” said Lavery. 

Section 42 of the Local Government Act 2002 requires councils to appoint a chief executive. Under Clause 34 of Schedule 7 of the Act, chief executives may not be appointed for a period exceeding five years. When the term of the contract expires, the council is permitted to extend the term of the chief executive’s contract for a term not exceeding two years. When the term of the contract and any extension have expired, the council is required to advertise the position. 

Wellington City Council has advertised the position of Chief Executive and that will close tomorrow (Friday 6 September). 

Lavery said, “I have very much enjoyed my time leading one of the world’s best local authorities in one of the world’s greatest cities. I have made this decision after careful thought and will not be making further statements about my reasons for not applying as this is a personal matter. 

“I would like to thank the Mayors and Councillors I have served for the confidence they have shown in me and for their trust in my leadership of the organisation. I would also like to acknowledge the many Wellingtonians with whom I have come in to contact over my time as Chief Executive. 

“I acknowledge the outstanding staff of the Council, they are truly world class. I have been supported by the most remarkable organisation of leaders, thinkers, doers, experts and compassionate Wellingtonians,” he said. 

“I am most proud of the culture change that has occurred within the organisation,” he said. 

“When I arrived, attrition was around 35%, sick leave was high, morale was low and there was significant tension throughout the organisation. Seven years later and we have built an organisation with attrition around 20%, sick leave significantly reduced, high morale and significant improvements in organisational performance because our culture is much better. 

“I am also proud of the work we have done to secure funding for the Let’s Get Wellington Moving Package and the significant programme of investment and delivery we kick-started back in 2015 with the Long-term Plan.  It’s great to see the construction work underway for the Town Hall and the new convention centre. 

“I am also proud of the way the organisation has handled challenging issues such as the Kaikoura earthquakes and the sudden closure of the Central Library. Organisations that are at the top of their game handle difficult challenges well and Wellington City Council certainly stood up when it needed to. 

“There is more to do and I am confident the Council next elected to lead our city is in no doubt of the challenges and opportunities ahead,” he said.