Gore District Council appoints same chief executive who resigned while they find replacement

Gore District Council has appointed the same chief executive who resigned last month back into the role as an interim while they find his replacement.

Stephen Parry announced his departure after failed mediation and months of tension with Mayor Ben Bell, who was elected a year ago.

He was due to leave at the end of this month, with the council considering the appointment of an interim chief executive Tuesday night.

Many tipped deputy chief executive Rex Capil to take the job, but on Tuesday he also resigned.

Now, councillor Stewart MacDonnell has confirmed Stephen Parry has been appointed to the interim role, and will remain with the council beyond October.

Parry had a frosty relationship with Mayor Ben Bell, who was the country's youngest ever mayor when he was elected a year ago, at the age of 23.

RNZ revealed in March that the pair had not spoken in months and entered mediation in December, though the process quickly fell apart.

The standoff culminated in a group of councillors calling on Bell, then 24, to resign, while a ratepayer started a petition calling for Parry to resign as chief executive.

Earlier on Tuesday a council spokesperson said "the council was committed to ensuring a smooth transition from outgoing chief executive Stephen Parry to a new chief executive, and having the right interim chief executive was critical to achieving this".

Capil will leave the council next month to take up another role, the spokesperson said.

In his resignation letter, Capil thanked Parry for his support.

"I came to the council to work with you, and I have enjoyed the chance to do that," Capil said.

"The senior leadership team and staff are fantastic and again I have valued the opportunity to be part of a very special staff at the council.

"A fantastic team and a fantastic work environment from an operational perspective."

Capil was a central figure during the breakdown in Parry and Bell's relationship.

He was the senior staff member at a meeting behind closed doors where the relationship was discussed.

A vote of no confidence in Bell was brought up during the meeting, though it did not reach a vote.

Capil misled the media about those discussions, stating in an email to RNZ that "no motion was tabled or discussed".