DCC Chief Executive resigns – timing is everything!

Updated 30.10.10

### ODT Online Sat, 30 Oct 2010
Harland quits after decade at helm
By Chris Morris
The clean-out is complete at the top of the Dunedin City Council, with council chief executive Jim Harland yesterday announcing his decision to quit after more than a decade at the helm.
Read more

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### ODT Online Fri, 29 Oct 2010
Dunedin City Council CEO Jim Harland resigns
Dunedin City Council chief executive Jim Harland has resigned today after 11 years in the job. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull announced the resignation in a statement this afternoon. Mr Harland is to take up a position as Southern Regional Director of the NZ Transport Agency.
Read more

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Dunedin City Council – Media release
Chief Executive Resigns But Not Lost To Dunedin

Last reviewed: 29 Oct 2010 2:45pm

Mayor Dave Cull announced today that Dunedin City Council Chief Executive Jim Harland has resigned his position.

“Mr Harland leaves the Dunedin City Council to take up a position as Southern Regional Director for the NZ Transport Agency, commencing in January 2011. This is a unique opportunity for Mr Harland and one that utilises his strengths in strategic planning, organisational leadership and relationship management”, said Mayor Cull.

NZ Transport Agency Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield said that as Southern Regional Director Mr Harland would work between NZTA’s Christchurch and Dunedin offices so would not be lost to Dunedin. “This is a key position within the NZTA and Jim will play an important role in advising South Island councils regarding their regional land transport strategies.”

As part of his new role, Mr Harland will retain his position on the Stadium Project Delivery Team because of the synergy between the Stadium, the realignment of SH88 and his knowledge of the project. He will also be involved in national projects as part of the NZTA’s Senior Leadership Team.
Read more [DCC has removed the link]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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14 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZTA, People, Politics, Project management, Site, Sport, Stadiums, What stadium

14 responses to “DCC Chief Executive resigns – timing is everything!

  1. ro

    It worries me too that he intends to see the rerouting of SH 88 through to completion. The creation of ring roads circuiting the city centre has destroyed more vibrant city centres than Dunedin’s – we need to start dismantling those that we have already; not create more.

    • Elizabeth

      ro – the whole ‘resignation’ thing has the whiff of crafty stage management, not only is the timing strategic (oh wow, look we got the new DCC signed in…) but it’s a long road from being an accident. More people than are telling knew about this long before today’s announcement (let’s call it a confession). Let’s remember who is/was tied up with NZTA in the last five years. Shoulder tapping in bureaucracy is so unspontaneous. The Chief Executive has been tireless from wo to go, always busy, and at all times personable and approachable. I haven’t liked a number of outcomes, and I’ve liked plenty of others. It’s not like Jim was going to retire.

  2. Anonymous

    My little bird has a smile. A mile wide.

  3. ro

    So who is or was tied up with NZTA? Did I once know? Am I having a senior moment?

  4. Anne

    Don’t you just love the word ‘synergy’! It all makes such total sense.

  5. Calvin Oaten

    I see Mr Harland sees his initiation – in the 2000/2010 Plan – of the “Choices for the Future” programme as one of his highlights. This was promoted by then manager Graham Spargo and chairman of the Economic Development Committee Malcolm Farry. Out of that came the predictions of a city population of 140,000 by year 2021. They were also going to create an additional 10,000 jobs by 2010.
    Yesterday Statistics NZ released its annual business trends/demography survey. City employment dropped from 56,160 in 2009 to 54,960 in 2010.
    The population of Dunedin urban area records a lift of 1,000 residents, but we can wait for next March’s 5-yearly update to confirm or deny that. We know that if not static then the population is barely moving. An increase 20,000 to 22,000 by 2021 is extremely problematical.
    Nonetheless, the nonsense goes on, morphing into the “Your City Our Future” programme currently absorbing staff with crystal balls and tarot cards busy working out the next momentous happenings for our fair city.
    What the budgets are for these shenanigans is anybody’s guess.
    It is a seriously good deed that Mr Harland has done by resigning, pity he hadn’t done it seven or eight years ago.

  6. Phil

    My wife and I were discussing the CEO situation the other night. We both recalled a BCC documentary about the CEO of one of the larger boroughs in London. It must have been significantly larger than Dunedin, based on the way the story played out. Anyway, the CEO went undercover as a casual worker into various departments. From memory he spent time with social housing workers, pest control officers, health inspectors, and a few others. Learning how they worked, what they did, and ideas that they had for improving. All without any of them knowing who he was. Then he went back to his office and incorporated their ideas into the plans for each department, directly involving the staff members who had unknowingly offered up the suggestions to him.

    And that got us to thinking. One of the pet peeves staff members have about Jim is that they never see him, and he seems to have very little idea (nor interest) about what they actually do. We think that it should be a requirement for the new CEO to spent one day in each of the DCC departments as the first action of his/her employment. Even it it takes a couple of weeks before they finally get down to business. It will be well worth it in the long run. Learning about exactly what each department does, and how the staff members feel about the way their department is operating. Currently, the CEO only receives information from a very small group of people, who may or may not be reporting the complete story.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Tue, 9 Nov 2010
      Council a happy place to work, says Harland
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin City Council chief executive Jim Harland says the council remains a happy workplace, despite more than one-quarter of employees opting not to express pride in working for the organisation in an internal survey.
      Read more

  7. Phil

    I remember those “confidential” surveys. I recall a manager in charge of a small department carrying out a right witch hunt to track down the person in her department who had written critical comments about management styles in the survey. Being a small department of only a dozen or so people, it wasn’t long before she was able to identify the author and confront them. The fallout was such that no staff member in that department has dared write anything about management in any surveys since.

  8. Peter

    Of course if you want promotion, or just to keep your job, you tell the boss what he/she wants to hear and proudly sign your name. (option only)
    Not many people can take criticism – ‘constructive’ or otherwise – after all.

  9. Russell Garbutt

    Does the DCC use an independent system to do these surveys.

    The ones I participate in are done by a separate company who are able to remove all personally attributable comments in a way that still retains the message.

    I do note the comments from Phil about the apparent lack of interest Harland has in what staff are doing and his lack of profile amongst staff – probably this is the reason that I heard his nickname within the DCC is Osama Bin Harland – not seen normally but causes a lot of damage when he does something……

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 11 Dec 2010
      Hunt for new city council chief begins
      By David Loughrey
      The Dunedin City Council has begun the process to recruit a new chief executive, after Jim Harland’s resignation in October. Eight recruitment firms have submitted proposals to take on the work, but it is unlikely a new chief executive will begin before May next year.
      Read more

  10. Phil

    I’ve seen a couple of these “confidential” surveys, Russell. They may well be prepared by outside organisations. The results reports don’t show staff names, obviously, but given how small many departments are, it doesn’t take long for department managers to identify contributors.

    From memory (and it’s casting back a bit here), there would be, for example, a quotation “I think my manager is doing a good job”. The report would they say how many people had ticked which box, from “Fandidilyantastic” through to ” A Partially Trained Chimp Could Do Better”. And then the contributor would be invited to write any comments relating to that item. Any comments would then be written in full in the results report, before progressing to the next item.

    Where it all falls down, in my opinion, is that the reports are given to the manager of each department, without any censorship. Which allows the manager the opportunity, as in the case I mentioned, to identify contributors and, on occasion, apply enough pressure to discourage staff from contributing further in a negative fashion.

    I believe that the reports should be assessed first, at a level above of department managers. The department managers should be issued with a summary only, together with any recommendations/instructions about changes in management styles etc, that might be needed. The way it is today (or was) does put pressure on staff members to reply in a positive or neutral fashion, knowing that their manager will be reading their comments.

    I do also recall that, for some of the questions, the neutral or “fence sitting” option was actually worded along the lines of “I don’t have anything to do with them/it”. So people such as the CEO could come out of the report looking quite good, purely through having no interaction with the staff.

  11. Peter

    Here’s an ‘interesting’ case of a ‘confidential’ survey done some years ago. A review/appraisal was done on a manager where an unsealed container was placed at reception to place the survey forms and alongside was a register where staff signed off to verify who had put in their survey form. A receptionist noticed the boss, who was being assessed, was monitoring the container at the end of the day to see what staff had written. Of course he would have recognised the handwriting from any comments made by the staff. Did this happen at some hick business outfit in town? No, it happened at the university.

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