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Christchurch city councillors will hire an independent troubleshooter to probe the controversial performance of its chief executive Tony Marryatt, who remains on paid special leave.
The unanimous decision to investigate "the actions and knowledge of the council’s chief executive officer and management in relation to matters leading to the revocation of the council’s accreditation as a Building Consent Authority" was announced after an all day meeting with lawyers and employment specialists.
Councillors are muzzled about what they can say in case it aids Mr Marryatt in any future employment litigation.
However, any report which sheets home blame or concludes that performance was below par is likely to assist the council in efforts to oust the unpopular chief executive without major expense to ratepayers in a golden handshake.
Councillors will hold another meeting on Monday to discuss terms of reference and who will undertake the investigation.
One of the council’s most often used consultants for employment matters is Sheffield Consulting.
But councillors are expected to consider whether an outsider with fewer historical connections would be most appropriate
A Crown manager, Doug Martin, has also been appointed on $2000 a day to supervise the building consent department.
He did a similar job at Environment Canterbury after the appointment of commissioners in 2010. Critics claimed his report added nothing new.