Nelson City Council appoints Interim Chief Executive

24/11/2022 3:02pm

Nelson Mayor Nick Smith today announced the appointment of Lindsay McKenzie as Interim Chief Executive (CE) of the Nelson City Council. The appointment will take effect from 19 December and last until Council has a new permanent CE in place, which is expected around May 2023.

“Lindsay has outstanding local government credentials as a successful CE of both the Tasman and Gisborne councils and 18 years previously at Environment Southland. 

"He has the advantage of living locally, knowing Nelson well as a neighbouring CE in Tasman, and having led two unitary councils that, like Nelson, have both district and regional functions. 

"He has just recently concluded work providing governance support for the Invercargill and Christchurch city councils. He is ideally placed to guide Nelson City Council through this transitional period and to support the recruitment of a new permanent CE.” 

Lindsay McKenzie says he sees the Interim CE role as that of a caretaker, but one that ensures that the organisation continues to deliver on its obligations to its community.  

“I will be focused on supporting the Mayor’s governance reset and ensuring Council’s Senior Leadership Team receives all the assistance it needs to focus on the essential work of recovery.  

“As a CE, I have a responsibility under the Local Government Act to make sure Council is a good employer, and the wellbeing and health and safety of Council’s employees will be paramount. I see a large part of my role as being an effective link between elected members and staff and ensuring all parts of Council are kept informed and reassured in this period of change and uncertainty.”  

Mayor Nick says the appointment of an Interim CE is necessary due to the contract for the current CEO Pat Dougherty ending early next month and the need to conduct a thorough recruitment process for his replacement.  

“Pat has given the Nelson City Council outstanding service and has agreed to extend his contract until 18 December. He cannot extend it further due to new work commitments. We considered appointing an Acting CE from existing staff, but with staff shortages believe this would compromise the delivery of important work like flood repairs to infrastructure, urgent seismic strengthening of the Elma Turner Library, and the development of next year’s Annual Plan.

“The Council is working at pace on appointing the permanent CE. The first meeting on 10 November appointed the Chief Executive Employment Committee of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and councillors Trudie Brand and Pete Rainey and it met the next day. 

"We have appointed an independent advisor and recruitment company and expect a shortlist of potential candidates in December. We will be conducting interviews late this year and early next year with the appointment scheduled for either the Council meeting in February or March. The successful candidate is likely to have a notice period so is unlikely to start in the position until about May 2023.

“2022 has been a particularly challenging year for Council with the ongoing COVID-19 disruptions, August’s devastating storm, the local elections, big changes around the Council table as well as the CE’s term of employment ending. 

"I am confident Lindsay’s skills and experience will help us achieve a smooth transition in the leadership of Council staff, help us rebuild confidence in Council and help deliver for the Nelson community in 2023.”