Tauranga City Council chief executive officer Ken Paterson died in his sleep overnight at the age of 61.
Ken lived with his wife Melanie and three-year-old son Findlay and seven month old twins in Bethlehem.
Tauranga City Council CEO Ken Paterson has died overnight.
Mayor Stuart Crosby announced the news to colleagues and staff that Mr Ken Paterson passed away this morning.
“The councillors and staff are incredibly saddened to hear of Ken’s passing,” says Stuart. “Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies go to Melanie and his family. This time is going to be extremely difficult for everyone.
“In the eleven months he was at Tauranga City Council Ken has had a significant impact on the organisation,” says Stuart.
“We enjoyed Ken’s unswerving optimism, his passion for the job, and his enthusiasm to address the hard issues.”
Stuart says a condolence book will be available in the council reception area for anyone wanting to pay their respects in this way.
On May 5 Ken was taken to Tauranga Hospital after experiencing chest pains. He was released three days later after undergoing tests.
A Scottish engineer, Ken lived in New Zealand for the last 20 years.
He was employed as CEO of Tauranga City Council in April 2011 as part of the council’s restructuring.
The wreck of the Rena delayed things, but the restructuring process has been recently getting back on track.
Councillors were briefed about the restructuring process in a confidential meeting last week.
“Essentially what we have asked the chief executive to do is reset this organisation in view of the new operating environment we find ourselves in, with the change in the economy - and it’s as simple as that,” says Stuart today.
Before being hired by TCC, Ken was the CEO of Northland Regional Council for four years.
He was also employed as CEO of Techscape, an infrastructure works and maintenance company with about 290 staff formed by the former Waitakere and North Shore City Councils and was the Taupo-based generation manager for Contact Energy.
It was this combination of experience in the public and private sector, and his involvement in reshaping the Northland Regional Council from its largely environmental focus to also encompass economic and infrastructure development, and social and cultural matters that won him the Tauranga job.
Ken also reorganised the Northland Regional Council’s workforce and played a key role in the development of the region’s recently-completed multimillion dollar Northland Events Centre in Whangarei.
But he was the second choice for the Tauranga job after the councillors’ first pick, Rodger Kerr-Newell, a former Lower Hutt, New Plymouth and Rodney local government chief executive, turned it down at the last minute.
The council selected Ken after re-interviewing the three remaining finalists.
When he was hired Stuart said Ken impressed with his background in private and public sector administrations, and his experience finding innovative solutions.
His strong economic development focus was welcomed.
“The elected members all agree we need to look at the council’s service levels and find new and better ways to do things smarter,” says Stuart at the time.
“This might mean changing the way we deliver some things – but certainly we know the community wants us to continue to find the savings and efficiencies we can do within the organisation. Mr Paterson will be ideal to assist us to do this.”
Today’s council meeting and Tuesday’s morning council workshop are both cancelled.