Waitaki District Council Chief Executive Michael Ross has announced his retirement.

Mr Ross has been Chief Executive since January 2004 and while his current two year contract is due to finish at the end of this year, he has decided to leave at the end of June 2017.

Mr Ross says, “This timeframe suits both myself and Council. So this is a mutually agreed situation.”

“Over the last 18 months or so we have made considerable progress on a number of projects. There are a few that I would like to try and get closure on, including the Alps2Ocean cycle trail, the Oamaru Courthouse and the direction set for the former RSA building project.  By the end of June all these will be closer to completion.”

There comes a time when you know that the timing is right. I believe that time is now – it certainly would be a good time for Council to bring in a new CEO as we start the Long Term Plan budgeting process for the next three years.”

Mayor Gary Kircher supported Mr Ross’s announcement and complimented him on his years of service. “Michael has been a very good Chief Executive, originally brought in for his skills as we grappled with the huge issues of Project Aqua, and irrigation for the wider North Otago area. He has been very involved in many major achievements for the district and that is also reflected in how highly regarded Michael is in the local government sector.”

Mayor Kircher announced that Council has agreed that Mr Ross should stay on as a Director of North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) until the end of the year, stating the need for continuity on the board.

“NOIC is going through some challenging times as they get closer to completing Stage 2 of their scheme.  It’s important from our perspective that they keep continuity on the board and still have access to the skills that Mr Ross brings.”

“Of course, the next challenge Councillors and I have is to get on with the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive.” said Mayor Kircher.  “It’s one of the most important roles that any council can undertake, and we want to make sure we get the best person to take the Council forward from where we are now. That process is now underway.”

Mr Ross stated, “I believe that we, the whole Council team, have achieved much over the past 13 years. I am confident that I am leaving the organisation in good heart and well placed for the future. In my time here, I have had superb support from both elected members and my staff.  I would like to thank them all for their support and the opportunity that I have had to lead the organisation as their Chief Executive. It has been a real privilege for my wife Susie and me to live and work in the community I grew up in.”

Mr and Mrs Ross will be retiring to their home in Wanaka.

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