Dairne Kirton, president of the CCS Disability Action National Board has announced that the organisation will not be appointing a new Chief Executive, as had been previously planned.

Current Chief Executive David Matthews has agreed to stay on with the organisation until 30 June 2021 ensuring that business continues as usual for disabled people and their whanau through this global event.

“These have been unprecedented times for Aotearoa and the world. As one of New Zealand’s largest pan-disability support providers, it’s essential for us to have continuity to ensure we can deliver high quality, person-directed support for disabled people and their whanau. We believe this move will also give us the certainty we need to ensure we are well placed for what comes next,” said Ms Kirton.

“I remain equally committed to seeing disabled people included in the life of their family and community as when I first began with the organisation some 20-odd years ago. I would like to thank the National Board for their continued faith in me to lead this organisation – particularly during these immensely challenging times,” said Mr Matthews.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our incredible staff across the country – both front line and behind-the-scenes. They’ve mobilised incredibly quickly and work tirelessly to connect with the people we support and ensure everything is in place to see them through this crisis as best as possible. All this in a time when they, like the rest of New Zealand, manage the very natural concerns and challenges this pandemic has created. It’s humbling to see how committed our people are to getting us through this in our usual flexible and creative way,” said Mr Matthews.

As part of the extension process the National Board introduced a new part-time Deputy Chief Executive position, to further strengthen the leadership of the organisation. This position is fixed term for 15 months. Following an internal recruitment process, Mr Matthews announced the appointment of Mel Smith, General Manager for CCS Disability Action’s Southern region.

Ms Smith also has a long history with the organisation, where she began work as a Support Worker following a social work placement through Otago University in 2002. She then moved into a Coordination role and, following a period working for the Deaf Society in Western Australia, returned to take the Team Leader position in Otago and later Waitaki. This was followed by her appointment to the acting Regional Manager role and later to a newly established General Manager position for Southern in 2016.

“I do feel exceptionally proud of this organisation and the work we do in communities, so I am excited to take on this new position. I think creating a society that is more accepting of diversity is truly possible. All it takes is one person, influencing another – and that sows a seed for change. I hope that I’ll be able to help create an environment where these seeds can blossom and grow,” says Ms Smith.

Mel Smith
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