DCC loses City Property manager in restructuring

### dunedintv.co.nz April 28, 2014 – 6:53pm
DCC’s Robert Clark steps down
The man in charge of the Dunedin City Council’s property portfolio is leaving the role he has held for the last six years. Group manager of economic development and property Robert Clark is returning to the commercial sector. The council says the creation of a city marketing agency and proposed structural changes will affect property operations. It says that review provided an opportunity for Clark to return to the commercial property environment, and pursue other interests.
Ch39 Link [no video available]


Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Manager Economic Development and Property moving on

This item was published on 28 Apr 2014

The Dunedin City Council’s Group Manager Economic Development and Property Robert Clark is leaving the organisation after six years to return to the commercial sector. General Manager Infrastructure and Networks Tony Avery says Mr Clark’s last day at the DCC will be on Friday, although he will continue to do transitional consulting work in the coming months on some significant projects.

Mr Avery says the DCC is currently working on the creation of a City marketing agency and proposed structural changes, some of which may impact on its property operations. “The DCC and Robert have been in discussion around the future of the Property Group within Council. Robert has achieved a number of significant successful property and commercial projects and outcomes for the city. The review of property operations has provided an opportunity for Robert to return to the commercial property environment and pursue other interests. Robert wishes his team and colleagues well and said it has been a privilege and pleasure to work with such a talented group and achieve such positive outcomes for the city. He leaves the DCC with our best wishes and we look forward to an ongoing working relationship with Robert.”

Mr Avery says the DCC is still in consultation with staff regarding the proposed marketing group and other organisational changes, and an announcement is expected from CEO Sue Bidrose by the end of the week.

Contact General Manager Infrastructure and Networks on 477 4000.

DCC Link


The existing positions of economic development and property group manager, held at present by Robert Clark, and customer services agency manager, held by Adrian Blair, would be disestablished under the proposed changes.

### ODT Online Wed, 26 Mar 2014
Further DCC restructuring proposed
By Debbie Porteous
The Otago Daily Times understands the council is proposing two management positions be disestablished and three new positions created under a new council structure. Two new groups with new group managers would be created and the council’s commercial property investment portfolio split off from operational property and moved into the finance team. A commercial property investment manager position would be created with responsibility for overseeing such investments across the whole council family, including by council-owned and controlled companies.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Economics, Heritage, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site

21 responses to “DCC loses City Property manager in restructuring

  1. From another thread:

    Calvin Oaten
    Submitted on 2014/04/28 at 10:40 pm
    Robert Clark leaving to move into commercial property. He will be retained in a consultant mode covering current projects. Shades of his predecessor Dave McKenzie. My guess is he got the DCM (don’t come Monday) and the property department is in for a serious shake up. Look for a substantial sell down. That’s what bankrupt businesses do prior to going belly up. In the DCC’s case that won’t happen because the ratepayers underwrite the debt. Still, it will be good sign if it results in divesting of non-strategic properties and paying down some debt. My big worry would be if these muppets see some money the first thing they’ll want to do is blow it on some other nutty schemes.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      It does sound uncommonly sudden, just like Shane Jones’s departure from Labour. Don’t tell me, Murray McCully found an urgent need for a property manager/economic developer to work on “New Zealand’s economic development aid programme across the Pacific and in other small developing countries”. Such things are best explained by conspiracy theories. Inaccurate perhaps, balanced by scope for creative thinking and innocent amusement.

      • Whippet

        Hype I think Murry McCully pulled a terrific stunt, and Shane saw the direction under Cunliffe that Labour were going down down down. A wise man like Shane knew it was time to leave. A mighty Kauri hasn’t fallen, just moved slightly to the right.

  2. In this case I have to think this is a sad indictment on the city council – however, it’s acknowledged the copy book had a few blots including what happened around property acquisition for the SH88 realignment. Through all this ‘restructuring’, the chief executive is keeping GM Tony Avery under her wing like butter wouldn’t melt. Why, we ask. In fact I have asked the CE and I got an answer – one I wasn’t convinced of.

  3. alanbec

    Corporate speak rules at Council: Restructuring offers Mr Clark the ‘opportunity’ to take up a position in the commercial sector? Do us a favour.

  4. John P.Evans, concerned citizen

    The demise of two managers would have been a step in the right direction, but to consider appointing three replacements just demonstrates the major problem ratepayers face.

    Whatever Mz Bidrose is aiming at – disestablishing the Empire is not part of the ambition!

    The stadium is built, the debt and interest payments remain, ditto the conference centre and Toitu? Museum, the only solution to ratepayers’ problems is a clear one – REDUCE the staff, disestablish the empire. Pay what employees’ output is worth, NOT for the number of ineffective staff managed.

    If property (2) turns into financial management (3) and consultant (1) (Clark), then Avery receives a pay rise and Mz Bidrose a resultant rise to retain parity. You and I fund that.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Excellent points, those. There is every incentive to grow departments, increase staff numbers and every incentive not to reduce numbers: “Pay what employees’ output is worth, NOT for the number of ineffective staff managed” as John P.Evans says.

  5. Anonymous

    Finally. This is a good step forward.
    Avery next, after Annual Plan submissions have finished.
    SH88 is still a thing.

  6. Strange wording indeed. Be honest, the guy got sacked. My only question would be, why did it take so long?

  7. Sacked is what happened to Athol. This is a negotiated disestablishment of position wherein the council still requires his expertise, in contract. The platitudes from Tony Avery are suspicious.

  8. Anonymous

    My impression is that they want to do everything possible to avoid the property transactions around SH88 realignment being openly discussed.

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    I feel their pain. Sincerely……..
    “The property transactions around SH88 realignment” is carrion the crows won’t clean, the stench that keeps on stinking. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this’un.

  10. We await Sue Bidrose’s end of week statement… Since the public is presently at a loss to explain if her restructuring has any chance of making useful economy. Like walking a tightrope, with all that DCC doom and indulgence unsteadying absolutely everything that’s already shaky, flawed and arthritic.

  11. Whether Tony Avery likes it or not, the “property transactions around SH88 realignment” will likely come out in the Hall Bros versus DCC court case. There’s more dirty laundry to be exposed yet, I am sure.

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    Fire one person, start a new department, hire 2, increase support staff. Get the website rejigged. Redecorate old office(s). Eco-responsibly dispose of old stationery, order new. Laptops, tablets, phones likewise. It’s not waste if it’s eco-demolished and recycled.

  13. Phil

    Kind of in 2 minds about this development. City Property certainly grew into a runaway train during the Harland/McKenzie years, and needed to be brought under some form of accountability control. Moving the bulk of it into the more structured Finance environment will hopefully rein it in. That being said, Robert Clark was the only person left in the department who had any actual property credentials. With him now gone, the rest of the best is a management team which has been shaped from within City Property itself, with no scrutiny of appointment suitability from outside of the department. It has been something of a law unto itself for years with mates rewarding mates and, in that respect, the change is a good thing. Dave McKenzie may well have had questionable motives at times, but he had at least a formal property background and education. The mistake was made when he was allowed (under Murray Douglas, from memory) to handpick his junior managers without a formal recruitment process, which resulted in all his mates from Ministry of Works tagging along after him. A shame to now lose the only remaining department member with a tangible property resume, but I think that CP, and the city, will be the better for the result. The bigger question is whether an entire department is still justified, with the commercial arm now removed. They are basically left with the Public Housing portfolio (which is under constant threat of being sold off or offloaded to a property management company), and the maintenance of various civic or DVML owned buildings and community halls which could easily be outsourced.

  14. Phil says; “City Property certainly grew into a runaway train during the Harland/McKenzie years, and needed to be brought under some form of accountability control.” Absolutely! It was never the City’s destiny to become an entrepreneur in property development/investment. That is the domain of the risk taking investors. Outside strategic civic purpose buildings, owned for the good of the ratepayer, DCC should not be competing against the market. Having now gotten itself into a very near hopeless financial situation, the city ought to be seriously looking at divesting itself of all non strategic properties in order to pay down the astronomical debt it is presently carrying. Employees using citizens’ treasure to speculate and try for profitable returns is just not their expertise. The fact that they even manipulate the situation in order to claim false returns is a failure in itself. For instance, at one time it was claimed that the Wall St Mall complex was returning 10% on investment. Then Cr Calvert (who is experienced in property investment) discovered that in order to arrive at that return they had chosen to ignore the land value ($11m) as part of the whole. Now that was either intentionally misleading or extreme naivety. Either way, it demonstrates the fact that we ratepayers are vulnerable. I ask what benefits there are in being the landlord to Bunnings in Porirua, or others in Auckland, Christchurch? Especially when it involves tying up debt and equity which would be much better cashed up so as to enable the stupid stadium, Town Hall Conference Centre and Otago Settlers Museum debts to be brought under control.

  15. Elizabeth

    The new City Property Manager by appointment is Kevin Taylor. He starts 1 September.

    Since 2008 Kevin Taylor has been….. “the Group Property Manager for HW Richardson Group Ltd, an Invercargill-based company with Australian and NZ wide interests in transport and logistics, concrete, petroleum, contracting, aggregates and waste sectors.

    Mr Taylor has extensive public and private sector property, management and business experience, having at one time been the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries National Property Manager. He has also worked for OCTA Associates Ltd as a project and management consultant and prior to that was Otago District Manager for the New Zealand Automobile Association.”

    DCC media release here:

  16. Cars

    You cannot have an empire without some land. Therefore the empire builders in the DCC require property and companies for their empires to build. Ratepayers however require better sewage treatment, potable water, waste water systems that work and intelligent management of the city’s resources.

    The ratepayers do not require a council determined on social engineering or changing the world. Nor do they require non business people masquerading as business geniuses. It is clear from the last twenty years that no, zero, zip business geniuses are employed by or affiliated with the councils. Except Arrow International which when its managing director was a director of the CST they had a teal business genius.

  17. Elizabeth

    Mr [Robert] Clark’s departure came after a restructuring proposal, effectively disestablishing his position, was circulated to staff.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Sep 2014
    DCC’s new property manager ‘up for the challenge’
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council’s new city property manager says one of his first priorities is sorting out “what’s good, bad and ugly” within his new role.
    However, Kevin Taylor (59) said he was already conscious of the council property portfolio’s significance to ratepayers and its impact on the community.
    Read more

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