‘It’s been a privilege’: Nelson City Council Chief Executive will not apply for next five-year term

14/06/2022 2:57am

Nelson City Council will be seeking a new chief executive after current Chief Executive Pat Dougherty has decided not to apply for another five-year term.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says Council respected Mr Dougherty's decision to move on from the role and thanked him for all he has delivered for Nelson City Council.

The Local Government Act limits contract terms for incumbents and given the changes occurring within the local government sector over the next five years,  Mayor Reese says Council needs to be able to appoint a chief executive who can commit to Council for the next five years. 

“The next five years will be a period of significant change in the local government sector. Some changes, like Three Waters, have already been signalled, but there are also changes in the resource management space as well as in the structure and role of local government itself through the Future for Local Government review that is well underway."

Mayor Reese says the Council felt that continuity was essential for the community and this necessitated having a chief executive able to remain at the helm for this period to build and deliver the next Long Term Plan and the projects currently in development while navigating a changing environment.  

“Pat’s leadership through periods of COVID-19 lockdown, and managing an organisation as it adjusts to different ways of working in particular, has shown both his skill as a chief executive but also his talent as a leader. Pat is deservedly well respected by staff and will be sorely missed by this organisation,” Mayor Reese says. 

“Pat has overseen an increase in capital projects from $40m to close to $70m and has seen this organisation through some key decisions, such as the sale of Council’s community housing to Kāinga Ora and creating a $12m Housing Reserve. He leaves the organisation in good shape for the next phase in our development as a city."

Mr Dougherty says it was time for him to explore other opportunities, but he would miss Council's hardworking team. 

"It was an honour to be appointed to the role by the Mayor and councillors in 2017. This is a role I care deeply about. I wanted to give back to the Nelson community and my heart is here in the region."

Mr Dougherty's care for the staff has been at the forefront of his leadership. 

"My vision for the organisation has always been a happy, well-performing team delivering on Council's expectations that is in touch with and respected by the community it serves. Councils around the country are facing unprecedented structural change, but I believe the motivation for working for local government will remain the same – it's about making the place you live even better, and it’s been a privilege to see how strong this motivation is within the staff of the Nelson City Council."

Mr Dougherty will remain in the role till December 2022. The process of recruiting a new chief executive will begin shortly.