Personal assistant, executive assistant, executive officer…. whatever their title, these are the secret powerhouses behind some of local government’s best leaders. So Local Government Magazine put out a call to name and praise them. Here are some of the best accolades we received for people whose work goes well beyond the call of duty.
Palmerston North City Council
Dominica Pikimaui is a superb personal assistant. I really could not do my job without Dom’s help. She has my total trust and she is of enormous help to me in achieving my goals for council, staff and the community. We form a great team of two and we laugh a lot which helps us both get through those difficult days that every council encounters. Our wider team includes the mayor’s office and it’s so good that we all get along as this is very important for the leadership of our council.
Paddy Clifford, CE
Manawatu District Council
Aimee is our executive officer and we’ve worked together since the reorganisation last year. By crikey, that confidentiality and trust! I have to say that any of my executive officers need patience. They really get to know you. The relationship is very special: you can’t do your job as CE without their support.
I’m very fortunate to have always had EOs that have been a million miles in front of me. I think of something and they go, ‘It’s ok, Vince, I’ve done it”.
Aimee’s on leave as she’s just had her first child, Jackson. She may think it’s easier being a mum than looking after me!
The best partnerships develop when the CE and their PA/ EA/ EO, whatever you call them, take time out to get to know one another. Aimee and I have set coffee times and there will be times when it’s a lunch. EOs are so important.
Lorraine Vincent, CE
Wanganui District Council
If you ever want to know who the most important person is, it’s the EA. I’ve had three long-term EAs during my time here and each one of them has been fantastic. Jan, my current EA, is so competent. She manages my entire life. A good EA makes you 40 or 50 percent more efficient than if you’re doing it all yourself – just by managing everything. Sometimes that makes you sweat because you’ve got no time between meetings but it makes an incredible difference to how much you can get through in a day or a week.
Kevin Ross, outgoing CE
Gore District Council
Susan has “had my back” for 14 years, being an extraordinary organiser and a trusted confidante. She can always retrieve, quickly, reports and letters from archives and acts as a superb gate-keeper in making sure a huge array of detail never enters my orbit!
After such a long professional union, it’s fair to say Susan seems to be able to read my mind and has a deep knowledge of my likes and dislikes. She has been a big part of my success as chief executive.
Stephen Parry, CE
Katrina Main is the PA / team administrator for the stormwater and assets team of 20 at GHD in Auckland.
She doesn’t wait to be asked for assistance: she’ll just come and check that we are all ok! That’s so proactive. There is a long list of tasks she assists us with that makes our jobs much more enjoyable and our projects much more successful. And the beautiful thing about it is that she has fun working with us. This is great for the team environment. And she doesn’t stop with our work tasks. She’s also widely knowledgeable on food, entertainment and wine so a great resource when it comes to organising our work events and client functions.
Vijesh Chandra, business leader – stormwater. On behalf of the stormwater and assets team at GHD in Auckland.
Dunedin City Council
My PA Vivienne has outlasted the four previous CEOs and is most definitely one of the hidden gems of Dunedin! Mind like a steel trap, her memory for my meetings and her instincts around my emails sometimes leave me wondering whether I even need to come to work.
Sue Bidrose, CE
This article was first published in the December 2015 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.