It’s going to be the ‘Susan and Liz Roadshow’ from here on with senior staff members along for the ride.
Waipā District’s new mayor Susan O’Regan and deputy Liz Stolwyk have embarked on a meet and greet philosophy which will see them team up at regular events.
The first was yesterday in Cambridge where they addressed a record turnout at the Chamber of Commerce After Five accompanied by chief executive Garry Dyet, chief financial officer Ken Morris and Strategy group manager Kirsty Downey.
“This provided us with a great opportunity to get in front of the business community,” said O’Regan who earlier in the week named Stolwyk as her deputy and put her in charge of the powerful Strategic Planning and Policy committee.
“I’m wanting to work more closely with the chamber in the future, work closely with them strategically. We have an active and engaged bunch and we’re all looking for similar outcomes,” said O’Regan.
She will use the same approach around the district with greater community engagement, a promise she made during her campaign.
“We’ve got to make changes and be honest about what we’re doing.”
Stolwyk, who lives in Ōhaupō and represents the Cambridge ward, sang a similar tune when The News discussed the approach.
She confirmed she would be working full time as deputy mayor and Strategy chair having recently employed Jeanette Douglas as operations manager in the family-owned events’ business.
Chairing the Strategy committee was not a new job for the experienced councillor now heading into her fourth term.
She will look to hold regular clinics for ratepayers and wants the webinars, introduced during Covid and used successfully during the dog control consultation, used more.
O’Regan has introduced deputy chairs to ensure there is a “deep knowledge base” around the decision-making table.
Stolwyk’s deputy will be new Maungatautari ward councillor Mike Montgomerie who joins Philip Coles on the Cambridge Community Board.
Councillors from the western side of the district chair the council’s other committees. Clare St Pierre of Pirongia takes on the Service Delivery committee from the now-retired Grahame Webber with Cambridge school principal Mike Pettit her deputy.
Marcus Gower of Kihikihi continues in the Regulatory committee role with St Pierre his deputy.
Independent Bruce Robertson will continue to chair the Audit and Risk committee with Cambridge’s Roger Gordon as his deputy.
Andrew Brown of Te Awamutu retains Finance and Corporate with Pirongia-Kakepuku councillor Bruce Thomas installed as deputy. Thomas will join veteran councillor Lou Brown on the Te Awamutu Community Board.
O’Regan wants the community boards to provide the connectedness with communities on behalf of the council. In the previous term, she questioned the community boards’ roles. Now their future is confirmed, she wants members to step up.
“There’s going to be a lot of work for councillors, dealing with the local government reforms. There’s no doubt it’s going to be very busy and work rich.”
Councillors will take their oath of office next Monday at Lake Karāpiro’s Mighty River Domain followed by the first council meeting.
Inaugural meetings of both the Te Awamutu-Kihikihi and Cambridge Community Boards will be held later that afternoon, at 1pm and 2pm respectively.
- The News sources say Pamela Storey had the numbers to secure the Waikato Regional Council chair job when the council met in Hamilton today. We reported last week it was a deadlock between her and Angela Strange which could have seen it decided by the toss of a coin.
- Update: It instead came down to a battle between Storey and Waipā-King Country’s Stu Kneebone of Cambridge. See: Storey elected