Paul Orders for change!

### D Scene 9-11-11 (page 3)
Dunedin Council is under improvement
By Wilma McCorkindale
Dunedin City Council’s new chief executive has launched a comprehensive analysis and change process for the organisation. Paul Orders said an improvement and innovation programme would take a detailed look at the performance and costs of each department. Orders had allowed up to two years for the project with changes happening throughout that period.
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17.9.11 Paul Orders starts Monday

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under DCC, Economics, Innovation, People, Politics, Project management

46 responses to “Paul Orders for change!

  1. Talk is cheap, and there is so much of it lately.

    • Elizabeth

      The query is ‘Paul Orders – what change??!!’ – and does your programme for improvement include a NO SURPRISES POLICY for citizen relief. We’ve had enough of the bad surprises…without knowing their full detail.

      Mr Orders, will you open the books? Will you recommend that all meetings of the council and its standing committees be video-taped for publication at the council website?

      We could go on.

  2. JimmyJones

    I agree wirehunt. With the apparent help of the DCC spin doctors, Paul Orders promotes this an “improvement and innovation programme”. But all it is is a pledge that he will take a look at the costs of each department over the next two years. This happens to be his normal job. Why doesn’t he do his job instead of trying to promote himself. The financial survival of the DCC is more important than Paul’s new image. In my view Paul is a feckless bedwetter and should either leave now or show us how transformational he is by becoming a real person.

  3. Elizabeth

    The change was part of “transformational plans” aimed at streamlining the council’s senior management structure and saving money within the organisation, Mr Orders said in a statement.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 11 Oct 2011
    Manager exits top DCC job
    By Chris Morris
    A senior manager within the Dunedin City Council has become the first to jump, as new chief executive Paul Orders unveils a cost-cutting drive aimed at the organisation’s management structure. Mr Orders yesterday confirmed he had accepted an offer by council customer services general manager Grant Strang to take voluntary redundancy, allowing the position to be dispensed with on October 17.
    Read more


    ### ODT Online Wed, 12 Oct 2011
    Six months pay likely for Strang
    By Chris Morris
    A senior manager at the Dunedin City Council could be in line for a six-figure payout after opting for voluntary redundancy rather than restructuring. However, the council was also likely to benefit from “significant” savings in the long run, which would increase if other senior managers followed suit, council staff have indicated.

    Mr Strang was a member of the council’s seven-strong executive management team, each of who earned annual salaries between $180,000 and $220,000, council human resources manager Bruce Miller confirmed yesterday.

    Read more


    See related comments at Oh god. ODT asks a simpering question. #whoknew

    • Elizabeth

      Three of the four remaining team members – Athol Stephens, Sue Bidrose and Tony Avery – received new job descriptions and responsibilities as part of the restructuring, Mr Orders said.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 30 Nov 2011
      Another top DCC exec goes
      By Chris Morris
      A second member of the Dunedin City Council’s executive management team has left, and those remaining face new roles and responsibilities as part of restructuring by new chief executive Paul Orders. It was confirmed yesterday council community life general manager Graeme Hall had opted to take voluntary redundancy, with the last day of his decade-long stint with the council having been Monday.
      Read more

      Dunedin City Council changes (via ODT)

      • October 17: Customer services general manager Grant Strang.
      • November 28: Community life general manager Graeme Hall.

      • Sue Bidrose: From strategy and development general manager to city strategy and development general manager.
      • Athol Stephens: From finance and corporate support general manager to finance and resources general manager.
      • Tony Avery: From city environment general manager to operations general manager.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Thu, 1 Dec 2011
        Editorial: Making savings at the DCC
        The departure of a second member of the Dunedin City Council’s executive management team this week, less than a few months into the tenure of new chief executive Paul Orders, would seem to demonstrate the new broom is intent on making sweeping changes. This is how it should be. He was brought into a council which has over several years demonstrated a largesse out of step with reasonable ability to pay.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 19 Jan 2012
          Budget cuts only a start, says Orders
          Dunedin’s new chief executive, Paul Orders, arrived promising changes and his first budget shows those promises have been delivered, councillors say. Mr Orders has presented a bottom line that budgets in past years have not produced – some serious cuts to avoid continuing the rates increases borne by city ratepayers in recent years.
          Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Wed, 18 Apr 2012
        Staff cuts continue at DCC
        By Chris Morris
        The Dunedin City Council is shedding staff and eyeing major reviews of other expenditure as it pushes ahead with an efficiency drive aimed at finding millions of dollars of savings each year. Figures released by council chief executive Paul Orders yesterday showed the number of council staff had dropped to 665 full-time equivalents (FTEs), down from 681 in July last year, shaving $634,000 off the council’s annual remuneration bill.
        Read more

        DCC staffing (via ODT)
        • 16 staff gone since late last year.
        • Six received final payouts totalling $306,400; the rest through natural attrition.
        • Staff count down from 681 FTE in mid-2011 to 665 now.
        • Cost-cutting reviews planned for all other departments, beginning with building control, libraries and ICT spending.
        • Gradual decline in staff numbers expected to continue.

      • Yesterday was transportation group manager Graeme Hamilton’s last day at DCC. One of his challenges: realignment of SH88 around the stadium, costing $25 million.

        ### ODT Online Thu, 7 Nov 2013
        Time for a change
        By Debbie Porteous
        A Dunedin City Council senior manager is taking the opportunity of recent changes at the senior management level, the departure of the council’s chief executive and a new council, to return to his consulting practice.
        Read more


        An earlier comment (2012) at another thread:

        Council redundancies bill tops $600,000
        By Chris Morris on Sat, 27 Oct 2012
        It was confirmed yesterday the council paid $628,513 in severance payments to 10 departing staff in the 2011-12 year. The spending included two sizeable lump-sum payments – of $214,845 [Graeme Hall] and $167,527 [Grant Strang] – received by two departing staff during the period.

  4. Which means we’re paying them out does it?

  5. Phil

    So does one receive a salary increase for having the word “city” added to the front of their title ?

    The only change of any significance is Athol picking up IT and Customer Services. Which is a positive change in my opinion. Athol doesn’t tolerate a lot of nonsense amongst his ranks.

  6. Phil

    I wouldn’t read too much into these so called “sweeping changes”. Dust off the first report about Jim Harland when he took over from Murray Douglas, change the name of the CEO, and the report will read about the same. It made almost zero difference in the end after Jim had chucked out all the existing GMs (except for Athol). By the time Jim left, DCC costs (including buying back services) were greater than when he arrived. This isn’t much more than turf marking at this stage.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    Phil, without putting in place restrictions on rebuilding empires this is certain to occur. There have to be ceilings on departmental salaries – perhaps a whole-department ceiling so that empire building by adding to the number of people reporting to the top banana can only be achieved by everyone’s salary dropping. That would be a real incentive to working smarter, with less waste.

  8. Phil

    I agree, Hype. The DCC staffing structure is incredibly “team leader” heavy. People simply given ridiculous management titles in order to get around the grading salary system. A parking warden’s report, for example, goes through 5 levels of management before it arrives on the CEO’s desk. 5 of the 13 staff in the City Property office have the word “manager” in their title. Building Control comes a very close second. Meaningless titles with the sole purpose being to boost egos and incomes. That’s where it needs to be fixed.

  9. But they all must be worthy to be managers, after all they did manage to con someone into coughing up said title. Even more common than CEO’s….

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    Isn’t it something to do with the pyramid structure, where people on each layer gain importance (i.e. salary, bonuses, status) based on the number of people reporting to them? And the higher the pyramid the more elevated each layer becomes, if you see what I mean. It’s only the people on the 2nd bottom layer who get anything from the grunts with the shovels so when it’s time to “economise” everyone looks at someone else’s underlings and the logical thing to do is contract out shovel-wielding, as long as the Manager of Shovel-Wielding gets to supervise the contractors.

  11. Phil

    The DCC salary structure is a complete mess. Every position (note: position, not employee) is given a grade, and that grade is assigned a maximum and minimum salary figure. The majority of the weighting of a grade is centered around the number of people who report directly to you. So people have managed to bump their grading up considerably by having staff reassigned to be reporting directly to them. Such as cleaners or restroom attendants in one Civic building, who all report to one DCC employee, yet they are all private contractors in all other council buildings. Serving to increase the level of responsibility for that one position, and therefore the grading.

    Adding to the fun is that every department within DCC has the same grading structure. So a planner (for example) may be on the same grading as a senior librarian. Let’s say that this planner is especially good and that planners outside of DCC are attracting higher salaries. The planner can not advance beyond the boundaries of the established salary for the grading assigned to a planner. The only way to reward them for extra effort, is to move the planning position onto a higher grading. But, if you do that, then you have to move every single planner onto that higher grading also. Including those who maybe are not so productive.

    Compounding everything is (remember?) that every department within DCC follows the same grading system and every position is linked upwards and downwards to every other position. Let’s say assume again that the planners are on the same grading level as the senior librarians. If all the planners get moved up a grade because they have been especially good, then all the senior librarians in all the DCC libraries must also move up one grading level. Even though they have no connection with the activities of the planning department. And all those staff members who were one grade below or one grade above (throughout the entire DCC) must also move up one. In short, there is no effective way to reward valuable staff and there is no incentive for non motivated staff to work any harder. All they need do is to sit back and let their more motivated co-workers carry them through.

    Jim had the right idea (albeit with the wrong motive) when he first started. He stripped every position of their grade and made them all apply again for grades, within the same grading structure system. That allowed positions to be assessed to see if they were still at the correct level, and it allowed for adjustments in the links between different positions (eg planners and senior librarians). I believe that this needs to be done on a regular basis. But it still left the fundemental problems in place where all positions are still linked together, good employees are not recognised, and poor performing employees are not disadvantaged. The only solution is to dump the grading positions altogether and allow for direct negotiations for each staff member. Either as individuals or through unions. The same way that everyone else does it. The grading system is a huge anchor within DCC.

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    Looks like in Mr Orders we ratepayers & voters at last have someone on our side.

  13. I didn’t realize there was sides Hype, I just thought council worked for us….

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    I like his way of helping staff, senior management included, to see the point of cutting waste and shiny things. “Floggings will continue until morale improves” – no, but seeing some of one’s cosy-club cobbers decide it’s ahem, time to voluntarily seek new opportunities is quite an incentive. Cushy jobs, even decently paid jobs, aren’t that numerous; it doesn’t look like things are going to improve world-wide in a hurry. Yes, strong incentives, that’s the story!

  15. Hype O'Thermia

    Wirehunt, you entering the Billy T comedy awards this year eh? Good form – that yellow towel’s as good as yours!

  16. amanda Kennedy

    Yes. The city now has stadium debt to pay for so we need a leaner DCC. Seems a bit rough if the rank and file are being given the boot though, they didn’t have anything to do with the con. How about we dump a few councillors and save ourselves some salaries? I know seven councillors who should be made to leave or at least pay their salaries toward the city’s debt they created. Crs Hudson, Bezett, Brown, Collins, Acklin, Noone and your pals; I am looking at you.

  17. Let me do the trimming. There might be a bunch that don’t like it but I’m sure they’ll take it like we have to.

  18. Phil

    That’s where the Councillors fell into little Jim’s cunning trap. One of the key requirements for his annual bonus was to reduce the staffing costs. Not to reduce DCC costs, only to reduce the salary costs. In selling off City Consultants, he met the requirement for his bonus and received the GDP of Vanuatu as a reward. The fact that the total cost to DCC for carrying out the same duties had increased, never entered into the equation. That was a totally different budget, see.

    But the real cunning part was still to come. Have to give little Jimmy credit for cunningness here. He wiped about 30 staff members from the DCC salary list with one strike. DCC had to pay a higher cost to rent those same 30 people back again, but that’s beside the point. He now had 30 less staff members than when he started. So he could employ 29 new staff and still be ahead when it came to assessing staff numbers. Brilliant when you think about it. Staff numbers decreased under Jim’s tenure, but the number of employees receiving money from DCC increased.

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    Smoke AND mirrors, all for the one salary + bonuses! We didn’t know how lucky we were.

  20. Anonymous

    If a game system has rules, and you wish to always win the game, it is necessary to game the system.

  21. Calvin Oaten

    Phil, there was/is a double whammy for the ratepayers. Not only the gross payments to ‘Jimbo’, but also the consultants fees not only exceeded the staff costs, but by strategically flogging off what little engineering nous that was left, we now have no in-house expertise to vet the offerings and costings of the aforementioned consultants. Result, substandard, high cost projects. Just look at the St Clair sea wall for one example. The Middle Beach debacle is another. Then the Tahuna Sewage Treatment is an open cheque book for those involved. The contractors are loving it.
    On another subject, speaking of crooks, I see in today’s ODT that the Guest gene is still alive and well. A mutation that their father would be spinning in his grave were he aware.

  22. On Tahuna, no they’re not loving it. Because council is being so tight they’re (the contractors) not even allowed to up the manpower to get it done.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    Ah yes, priorities, priorities. Rugby – welcome to even the gold fillings out of our teeth. Sewage – dull, messy, don’t want to think about it, don’t want to “waste” ratepayers’ money on it. Who angles for their photo next to a bucket of effluent to make a before and after glory-story?

  24. Phil

    You’re exactly right, Calvin. Much was made at the time of the sale, that the same engineering nous would still be used, that they were merely being employed by someone else. The reality was completely different. The DCC was a very small client for MWH, who bought what was left of City Consultants. The key nous had already left during the 2 year long process it took to sell the department. MWH plucked the cream out of what was left, and assigned them to more profitable clients. Those who ended up on DCC projects were mostly at a lower skill level (thus cheaper) and didn’t have the historical knowledge of the city infrastructure. Thanks to Jim’s efforts, the city received an inferior product for an increased price.

  25. Nice fluffy piece, this bit made me laugh out loud though….
    “But the wages bill is not the only criteria in the mix: there is the requirement to maintain a coherent and well-motivated public service workforce with career pathways that compensate for the fact they are not paid anything like the rates of consultants and which help to maintain continuity and institutional knowledge.”

    I thought ending up as a consultant would be future proofing their pay packet well enough….

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    Well of course consultants are paid heaps more. They have to finance their own holidays and sick leave out of their income, and they have no guarantee that when one contract finishes there will be another straight away.
    Take all that into consideration and then tell me how badly paid permanent staff are by comparison!

  27. You need to have a look at some consultant rates. But then I reckon there might be a tiny hint of sarcasm there Hype.

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    They’re also paying for their own receptionist / web designer / logo / computer hardware, software and IT bod. Self employed and partnerships sound great till you look at the costs and uncertainty involved.
    I prefer permanent staff in important positions, the ones where there is a tendency for wheels to be redesigned when there is no custodian of institutional memory e.g. we investigated that in 1997, and there was something similar tried in Waldronville in the 80s…….. Didn’t work in Waldronville, and the 1997 figures came out far more expensive than initially appeared because X Y and Z [under another department’s control] would have had to be altered to allow it to be done that way.

  29. So for being just like any other business, after all it is a business, they are allowed to charge pretty well whatever they want? Hmmmm, missed the memo.

    Here’s an idea, each head of department gets a whacking bonus for lowering staff and consults costs instead of it being the other way round.

  30. Hype O'Thermia

    Nearly all businesses can charge whatever they want. Very few are under price control. Competition does a certain amount to keep prices from crazy heights but the client / shopper has a view of the [reputation, real or perceived superiority over the competition] qualities. Even with lipstick and baked beans, where it is possible to get the products analysed and compared, some people prefer the expensive brand and perceive extra value over and above any actual differences. When it comes to consultants objective quality assessment is a matter of public recognition, trust (perhaps they were recommended by someone whose judgement you trust) or maybe “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. Charges? The sky’s the limit. As long as you keep getting contracts you’re not charging too much. Besides, people tend to imagine they’re getting a better result if they pay a lot for it. And when it’s not their own money they’re paying with…………..

  31. Anonymous

    Yes. Inherently a major cause of the systemic corruption at Dunedin City Council: When it’s not their own money they’re paying with. They are effectively grabbing handfuls of cash from the public coffers and packing it into the overflowing pockets of interested parties. Consultants, construction, land sales, high yield bonds… the opportunities are endless with the wrong people in the right places.

  32. That back scratching one is bit of a problem there Hype. Bit of a massive problem in fact.

    Look at it the other way, who hires these consultants? If the one doing the hiring knows jack shit about ‘add anything you want here’ then how in hell do they know who’s right for that work? I really am missing something here.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 25 Apr 2012
      DCC water and waste manager moving on
      By Debbie Porteous
      Dunedin City Council water and waste services manager John Mackie has resigned to take up a position working on the rebuild of Christchurch. Mr Mackie (57) will start as the manager of the water and infrastructure department for the New Zealand arm of United States engineering consultancy firm Aecom in late May.
      Read more

  33. Anonymous

    It looks like the DCC is up to its old ‘top tricks’ ad rorts again and it seems Paul Orders is okay with the Public Dollars being wasted on it. Remember those horrid “parking tips”? Sneeze into a tissue? Wash your hands after eating? Now they’re wasting money on “top tips” – one suggesting you recycle junk mail as gift wrapping. Who comes up with that crap? Who seriously has a job to do that? Doesn’t anyone in public office do real work today? But the worst of it is you and me are again paying to be told how to suck eggs.

    Some manager in that mad house must be getting commission, has shares in or just receiving plain old backhanders from the media outlets in this city.

    Paul – shut this silliness down.

    • Elizabeth

      Which media outlet(s) – we can stop this. Sounds like the new sustainability officer(s) – remember the job ad? Then Alistair Broad took out a large ad at ODT in application!!!

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