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Wanted: A CEO to trust

The Buzz

Tom Belford15 October 2020

The Napier City Council has commenced its search for new permanent chief executive, replacing interim chief Keith Marshall, who Mayor Wise and others credit with doing a splendid job.

In case you’re interested in applying, here’s the job description on Seek.

The lead quote, from Mayor Kirsten Wise, opens the city’s invitation:

“We are looking for an outstanding Chief Executive. Someone who the elected Council, all our staff and, most importantly, the whole of our Napier community can be proud of.”

Many observers would make one small but imperative tweak so as to cut to the chase in this search:

“We are looking for an outstanding Chief Executive. Someone who the elected Council, all our staff and, most importantly, the whole of our Napier community can trust.”

Trust … that’s the essential ingredient of a Council functioning with integrity, in both the internal and external relationships essential to success.

And it was trust in the Napier City Council that was squandered by the previous chief executive.

The councillors themselves understand this … especially those carrying over from the previous regime. They know firsthand what they don’t want! And aggrieved current and former members of the staff, as well as legions of Napier citizens, ‘get it’ also.

Napier will have no difficulty attracting candidates with the ‘technical’ skills to manage the Council enterprise. That’s the easy part.

It’s the more intangible qualities that need the most careful attention – willingness to listen, tolerance for disagreement, respect for transparency, and above all … truthfulness in all dealings. All of these are trust-builders.

On these measures, the previous incumbent set a low bar. And public esteem for the Napier City Council suffered as a result.

It’s up to Napier Councillors to now set the high bar that staff of the council, other public officials in the region, and residents alike deserve … so as to install a chief executive the entire community indeed “can be proud of”.

 

 

Tom Belford15 October 2020

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