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Gore District Council announces new chief executive

A woman with considerable local government experience in metropolitan and provincial councils is set to take the helm at the Gore District Council.

The Council today (27 Feb) appointed Deborah Lascelles as only its third chief executive in 35 years. She takes up the role on Monday 3 June, replacing the Council’s chief executive of 22 years Stephen Parry.

Ms Lascelles has worked at the South Waikato District Council for the last two years, initially as Group Manager Community and Corporate, and latterly as Executive Manager Strategy and Transformation.

She has also held senior roles with Waipa District Council and Hamilton City Council.

Ms Lascelles said she was thrilled to be joining the team at the Council.

“I am looking forward to getting to know the communities within the District, getting to know staff and getting stuck in to what is shaping up to be a busy time for local government over the next few years.”

The Council received 74 applications from throughout New Zealand and overseas for the position.

Gore District Mayor Ben Bell said the quality of applications had been outstanding.

“We were pleasantly surprised with the number of professionals who saw the Council as a progressive organisation and Gore as a great place to enjoy a career and lifestyle.”

Ms Lascelles has the experience and skill set to lead the Council, he said.

“She is a strategic thinker, skilled at building strong community relationships and leading large teams.

“Coming from a provincial Council with strong rural ties makes Debbie a great fit for Gore.”

Mr Bell acknowledged that Mr Parry’s departure represented a significant loss in terms of experience and institutional knowledge.

“He has been an integral part of the organisation for a long time.”

Recruitment agency Brannigans and the Council’s recruitment panel chose five preferred candidates to be interviewed by councillors. The interviews were held in Queenstown.

“When we compared flights, travel and venue costs between Gore, Invercargill and Queenstown, the latter was considerably cheaper,” Mr Bell said.

Ms Lascelles will move from Hamilton to Gore with her teenage son.


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