Council restructure briefs

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Property time’s up
Queenstown Lakes District Council’s contract with Abel Properties Ltd (APL) to manage its mega-bucks property portfolio expired six years ago, the report reveals. It notes APL continues to manage council property but says the contract’s expiry in 2007 presents considerable risk to both. “It’s also very concerning that QLDC officers have not utilised the provisions in the contract to date to assess the performance of APL.” The report says a one-year contract should be entered into whilst a review considers APL’s performance and the appropriateness of this outsourced service. 

Harbourmaster’s choppy water
The job of Queenstown harbourmaster Marty Black is under threat. The restructure proposal notes it’s usually a regional council function and timely to consider if it’s still appropriate for QLDC. A look at future options, and if QLDC should bring it in-house, are recommended. 

Saving on lawyers
The report doesn’t consider council gets “value for money” for legal services – largely because quality of instructions to external legal services and management of them are inadequate. “Instructions to providers are often vague and unclear.” Council outsources all legal work, costing $1.5m a year, to Mactodd, Simpson Grierson plus a specialist insurance and leaky building firm. The report recommends hiring in-house legal beagles, a law manager and senior solicitor, estimating it’d halve legal bills, and save $300,000 a year, after the new salaries are deducted.