Queenstown council review team blasts infrastructure

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The criticism keeps coming – a leaked document proposing a Queenstown council shake-up slates the infrastructure team. 

The draft consultation report into a proposed restructure roasts the 24-strong department for uncoordinated work programmes, services overlapping with other parts of council, poor use of technology and limited monitoring of public and private works. 

A major source of the problems stem from its team structure set in 2009 – the structure has failed to adapt and typically operates as an incomplete unit because of recruitment and staff retention difficulties. 

“Disconnects were found to exist in the current structure resulting in uncoordinated work programmes, inconsistent procurement and management practices and poor collaboration between the teams,” notes the report, by an independent team led by ex-Auckland Regional Council boss Peter Winder. 

“It was also apparent services provided by both the Infra-structure Services team and Lakes Environmental engineering team are complementary and overlapped in some aspects.” 

The report recommends integrating the engineering staff of LE – an arms-length council controlled organisation being dis­established and brought in-house – within the infrastructure team. 

It also recommends the parks and reserves team join the department as a separate unit to form a broader Infrastructure and Assets Division. In other criticisms, the report says the management, operation and maintenance of capital expenditure works is very piecemeal and results in a very inefficient delivery model. This created administration demands which could be reduced with a consolidated approach. 

A clear and consistent procedure for contractor performance assessments also doesn’t exist – it’s recommended contracts be structured so extensions are dependent on both performance and whether the contract itself is appropriate with respect to council’s future goals. 

Overall, the proposed council restructure recommends axing 80 people – almost 42 fulltime equivalent positions – out of a total staff of 334. It’ll contribute to at least $2 million in annual savings.
Council boss Adam Feeley is expected to make final decisions on staffing by this coming Tuesday.