Insider status big help as new CEO has a heavy agenda

EDITORIAL

The appointment of a young local woman, Nedine Thatcher Swann, as the new chief executive of Gisborne District Council will be welcomed by the community — who will wish her luck in the challenges she will face.

She has a great CV for the role. Her academic background includes two master’s degrees, in education and business administration. Now aged 40, she has had 10 years in management, including head of school at Tairawhiti Polytechnic and strategy manager for the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Her eight years at the District Council led to her becoming planning and development group manager, so she comes with strong institutional knowledge of the organisation she will now head — in some ways the ultimate insider, who knows how the council thinks and what its goals are. Her Maori heritage will also help in the most equally-balanced bicultural region in New Zealand.

Significantly, the council has chosen Ms Thatcher Swann from what the recruiter said was a strong field of candidates, most from outside the district.

In some ways they have gone back to where they started in 1989. Bob Elliott, the first chief executive, had a strong local background and was a dynamic leader who formed a strong partnership with a similar individual in John Clarke.

Since then the council has appointed two candidates from outside the district, Lindsay McKenzie and Judy Campbell — although Mrs Campbell had already moved to the region to head Tairawhiti Polytechnic.

Ms Thatcher Swann is diving straight into the role. By arrangement, Mrs Campbell finishes on Friday and she takes the helm on Monday. There is a heavy agenda facing her, starting with consultation on the long term plan. Larger challenges await in the wetlands project and the removal of wastewater discharges into city rivers, not to mention the shift into a new building, the Navigations Project and coming Te Ha commemorations.

It is a challenging role and it is to be hoped she will get the strong support of the council.

The appointment of a young local woman, Nedine Thatcher Swann, as the new chief executive of Gisborne District Council will be welcomed by the community — who will wish her luck in the challenges she will face.

She has a great CV for the role. Her academic background includes two master’s degrees, in education and business administration. Now aged 40, she has had 10 years in management, including head of school at Tairawhiti Polytechnic and strategy manager for the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Her eight years at the District Council led to her becoming planning and development group manager, so she comes with strong institutional knowledge of the organisation she will now head — in some ways the ultimate insider, who knows how the council thinks and what its goals are. Her Maori heritage will also help in the most equally-balanced bicultural region in New Zealand.

Significantly, the council has chosen Ms Thatcher Swann from what the recruiter said was a strong field of candidates, most from outside the district.

In some ways they have gone back to where they started in 1989. Bob Elliott, the first chief executive, had a strong local background and was a dynamic leader who formed a strong partnership with a similar individual in John Clarke.

Since then the council has appointed two candidates from outside the district, Lindsay McKenzie and Judy Campbell — although Mrs Campbell had already moved to the region to head Tairawhiti Polytechnic.

Ms Thatcher Swann is diving straight into the role. By arrangement, Mrs Campbell finishes on Friday and she takes the helm on Monday. There is a heavy agenda facing her, starting with consultation on the long term plan. Larger challenges await in the wetlands project and the removal of wastewater discharges into city rivers, not to mention the shift into a new building, the Navigations Project and coming Te Ha commemorations.

It is a challenging role and it is to be hoped she will get the strong support of the council.

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Peter Jones - 2 years ago
Bureaucrats quickly learn that if you want to get ahead, you don't make waves . . . which translates into obeying orders. You don't challenge policy.
This situation where policy becomes king and the people become its slaves is what we are seeing here in Gisborne.

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