A Far North mayoral challenger says council staff morale has sunk to an all-time low because of meddling by the mayor, Wayne Brown, and constant restructuring.
Councillor Laurie Byers says the Far North District Council has been chopping and changing staff and their jobs in a drive to cut costs for the past two years.
He says Mr Brown has had a hands-on role in the process, and many good workers have left, while remaining staff have to suffer an Auckland efficiency consultant, who is paid $1500 a day, clocking them with a stop-watch.
Mr Brown rejects the claims, and says staff at the council have less cause to worry about their jobs than most people and businesses in the region.
He says any successful company continually looks for efficiencies and ways to do things cheaper and better, which he says is even more important when the economy is getting tougher.
Mr Brown says he's more interested in the morale of ratepayers than staff.
The council's chief executive, Dave Edmunds, says the improvement process has so far generated $4.6 million in savings.