Wellington City Council chief infrastructure officer quits

Wellington City Council’s (WCC) chief infrastructure officer Tom Williams has quit.

The role is a critical one in the council’s Executive Leadership team as Williams oversees things like transport, resilience, and the city’s crumbling water infrastructure.

His resignation comes as Wellington Water is about to undertake the biggest capital works programme by far in its history to try and get on top of a situation that’s spiralling out of control.

In an email sent to all councillors this afternoon, which the Herald has obtained, WCC chief executive Barbara McKerrow announced Williams was leaving next month.

“Tom has assessed his capacity to lead the considerable and increasing level of delivery required in this role against being a dedicated solo-father of two young children every second week.

“He has come to the conclusion that family must come first and he’s choosing to step back into his project management roots so that he can spend more time with his children.”

Williams was appointed as chief infrastructure officer after an independent report into Wellington Water and Wellington City Council found their relationship was lacking trust and in need of a “fundamental reset”.

The role is responsible for the working relationship with Wellington Water.

The report was commissioned in December 2019 by McKerrow, as incoming WCC chief executive, who was alerted to issues with the working relationship.

The report said disagreements between the two organisations were to such an extent that their management services contract was left unsigned for more than three years.

“There are difficulties and niggles occurring at each level and every part of the relationship between the two organisations”, the report said.

Williams’ last day at council will be July 23, with Chief Resilience Officer Mike Mendonca stepping in as acting chief infrastructure officer while a recruitment process is undertaken.

McKerrow said in her email Williams had worked hard to create the future foundations for Infrastructure and delivery.

“He has overseen the processto create a consistent and integrated approach to strategic asset management, initiated the development of our Project Management Office, set in place the focused development of Te Ngākau Civic Square, built a strong working relationship with Wellington Water (and with other key contractors) and actively participated in the WCC contribution to three waters reform.”

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