Phil Wilson commenced as Governance Director in 2015. He was previously Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Auckland and led the Mayor’s office. He has a long background in local government and has previously been Chief Advisor at Manukau City Council and spent many years before that leading HR and communication functions.
Phil is on the National Executive for SOLGM.
Sue Bidrose is Chief Executive Officer of Dunedin City Council. She has a long career spanning the not-for-profit sector, central government, local government and IT in the private sector.
She completed her undergrad study at the University of Otago in 1992 and also attained her psychology doctorate here. Since being appointed Chief Executive Officer, she has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Organisational Leadership (with distinction) at the Saïd Business School, Oxford University.
Sue has a passion for local government, and for promoting the ethics of public service.
Craig is a proud born and bred Taranaki lad and is currently the Chief Executive of New Plymouth District Council, a position he has held since 1 November 2017. A local government lifer, Craig is now in his 43rd year in the sector and has previously worked for Hawera Borough Council, Palmerston North City Corporation and Hawera District Council before spending 28 years in a variety of roles at South Taranaki District Council, the last 131/2 of those as Chief Executive.
Craig has been actively involved in sector activities for the last 20 years and has held governance positions with ALGIM and SOLGM as well as been a member of various LGNZ forums and Working Parties.
Craig is a self-confessed adrenalin junkie and speed freak and has a fondness for fast cars, good food and fine wine.
Steve Fabish is Hauraki District Council’s Group Manager - Community Services and Development. He has held this position since 2011 and is responsible for leading a team delivering Council’s Community Services, Community Development, Council Property, Democracy Services, Community Growth and Civil Defence.
Prior to 2011 Steve spent five years at Matamata Piako District Council as their Community Facilities Manager. He is also the current SOLGM Midlands Branch President.
Jason has 20 years’ experience in government roles, with a focus on governance management and leadership. He is passionate about democracy and ensuring that today’s governance professionals make a positive impact on decision-making.
He began his career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, before spending some years at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington D.C., supporting our extensive military attaché network in the US. On his return from overseas he completed his Bachelor’s degree, before taking up a management role at North Shore City Council.
In 2007, he started at the Auckland City Council in Democracy Services before being successful for the Governance Support Manager role at the Auckland Council in 2010. Jason completed his Masters’ in Public Management through Victoria University in 2014 and joined the Whangarei District Council as the Governance Manager in 2015. He is now the General Manager of Governance, Strategy and Democracy at the Kaipara District Council, starting there in 2018.
Kym Fell is the Chief Executive of Whanganui District Council and is the Chief Executive for the Whanganui Airport Authority, a local government and Crown joint venture.
Reporting to the Mayor and 12 elected members, Kym has an Executive Leadership Team (ELT) of five Senior Managers overseeing 233 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff delivering over 100 services to the Whanganui District. WDC has a depreciated asset-base of $1.1 Billion and an annual revenue base of $88 Million.
As a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and Institute of Management New Zealand (IMNZ), Kym holds governance roles on four entities; these being the New Zealand Masters Games Ltd, Sarjeant Gallery Trust, Manawatu-Whanganui Local Authority Shared Services, and more recently as the Midlands Branch Executive for the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM).
Former roles include ‘Director Corporate’ for Regional Facilities Auckland, overseeing Auckland Stadiums, Auckland Zoo, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Conventions and Auckland Live. Prior to this, Kym was the General Manager for Grand Hotels International based in Tasmania and South Australia.
Nicola is the Director Human Resources at Wellington City Council, which also covers Organisational Development, Health and Safety and Leading Organisational Change. Prior to Wellington City Council, Nicola spent six years as General Manager of Human Resources at KiwiRail at the time when it was merged with Toll, United Group Rail and Transfield Services. She is passionate about people, capability and building a constructive work force culture and believes the future success of Local Government depends on its ability to attract, retain and build careers for everyone.
Sarah Gardner is the Chief Executive of the Otago Regional Council, a position she has held since 29 January 2018.
Sarah is an experienced executive, with key strengths in complex project delivery, policy and planning, community communications, relevant legal frameworks, strategic leadership and team building.
A New Zealander, Sarah’s career spans time in Regional Government, The Ministry for the Environment, and the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority, before her more recent work in Australia as the Executive Director, Waste and Resource Recovery for the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority.
Over the past twenty five years Simon has held a range of policy, planning and management roles working in, and consulting to, both local and central government in New Zealand. Simon is a member of the Waimakariri District Council's Executive Management Team and responsible for a range of business units spanning Communications & Engagement, Customer Service, Economic Development and District and Council Policy and Planning.
Simon is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, the International City County Management Association as well as an Associate Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management. Simon sits on a number of Boards and Committees including SOLGM, Local Government NZ's Policy Advisory Group, the Greater Christchurch Psychosocial Governance Group, charged with monitoring and advising on post-quakes wellbeing at a population level, the University of Canterbury’s Advisory Committee for its Masters in Disaster Risk and Resilience Programme and Lincoln University's Planning Advisory Board, providing strategic input to LU's planning and environmental management academic programmes.
From 4 September 2010, when the first quake in the Canterbury Earthquake sequence struck, until 2015 Simon was the Recovery Manager for the Waimakariri District Council. This contribution was recognised in 2013 through a CDEM Ministerial Gold Award for outstanding contribution to CDEM in New Zealand. Simon is an experienced presenter to local and international audiences.