Frenetic Feeley sets a cracking pace with no speed wobbles’…yet

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Is Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Adam Feeley getting speed wobbles? 

Since arriving in October, he’s been getting a lot done. 

On top of a review of council’s campground operations, he’s overseeing a review of council’s operations. 

Feeley’s been a staunch advocate for Cricket World Cup games – and was no doubt instrumental in seeing actual progress towards the resort’s conference centre dream. Finally. 

No gripes there. We might be paying him a bit more than his predecessor but so far it appears major bang for the bucks. 

As revealed in Mountain Scene today, however, there’s a confusing blunder between the draft and final report into council’s restructure – which he signed off. 

A table in the draft and final reports simply summarising job decreases in the slimmed-down council swings wildly – and wrongly. The draft says 80 actual employees will get cut, while the final report says it’ll be just 39. It sticks out like dogs’ balls. 

Yet the more reliable indicator – fulltime equivalent positions – shows a decrease of almost 42 in the draft and more than 36 in the final. But that change in no way amounts to the jobs of 40-plus actual employees having been saved, as the ‘actual employee’ numbers indicate. 

When quizzed on it, Feeley himself acknowledged something wasn’t right with the ‘actual employee’ figures and eventually uncovered that a report author inadvertently failed to count campground staff in the draft. 

Feeley quite rightly emphasises his priority has been ensuring staff who are safe in their jobs, know it. And those staff who don’t have jobs but can apply for council gigs know that too. 

The people have to be the priority – not numbers in some table. Fair enough. 

So are we being mischievous in making a big deal of this on page three this week? Well, yes and no. 

Admittedly, the table’s really just there so anyone who bothers reading the 260-page report can see at a quick glance the likely wash-up on the numbers. 

But at the same time, we’re spending what’s estimated to be more than $250,000 on this review. 

And given people’s professional lives are at stake, you’d think they’d get the numbers there or thereabouts in a report proposing one of this council’s biggest restructures. 

For the sake of sticking to a deadline, maybe Feeley and the team should have had a cup of tea and a lie-down and got all their ducks in a row. Or explained the anomaly in the report – rather than putting it out in the public domain so everyone could sit there scratching their heads over it. 

But it’s not the sort of stuff-up that should see them throw the review out with the bathwater.
It seems to have popular appeal and is inevitably rumbling through. 

For the record, I asked Feeley himself yesterday – is this employee numbers kerfuffle an indication you’re getting the speed wobbles? 

Feeley replied: “There’s absolutely no chance whatsoever.”