9 Jul 2013

Engineer says consents appointment a disgrace

10:09 pm on 9 July 2013

A leading engineer says he's appalled the Government has appointed a consultant to run the Christchurch City Council's building department, rather than someone with industry experience.

A specialist in public sector management, Doug Martin, will supervise the department now that the council has lost its official accreditation to grant building consents from 8 July.

John Scarry, a structural engineer whose 2002 report on serious construction problems helped lead to changes in building legislation, says it's an "absolute disgrace that a bureaucrat has been appointed to sort out a serious technical problem".

In order to sort out such a problem, he says, the council needs someone with experience in architecture or engineering, rather than a bureaucrat.

Mr Martin, who will take up the job next week, told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Tuesday his speciality is performance improvement and he can get the department back up to scratch by boosting morale and improving performance.

He says he has the experience the job requires, such as knowledge of local government and the building construction sector.

Council to discuss embattled chief executive

The council is to hold a meeting on Wednesday - from which the public will be excluded - to discuss the the situation regarding its embattled chief executive.

Tony Marryatt, who has been blamed by councillors for not telling them about the severity of the building consents crisis before the council's accreditation was revoked, was sent home on leave last week.

The only item on the agenda for the meeting is a report from the chief executive sub-committee.

A committee member, Peter Beck, wouldn't say whether Mr Marryatt's job is on the line.