This month we speak with Santa Claus, CEO, North Pole Regional Council
Hi Santa, thanks for speaking with us at this busy time of the year.
What’s your current role, and how long have you been in that role?
Well, I’m Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, St Nicholas or even Kris Kringle, although I’m not so happy about that last one, makes me sound like a rapper.
My role is CEO of the North Pole Council, and my main responsibility is project managing the preparation and delivery of all the presents to children around the world on Christmas eve.
I’ve been doing this job for so long I can’t remember when I started.
Some people reckon I started soon after some guy called “Good King Wenceslas” but I find that hard to believe. Who would give a guy a job with that name?
I mean, was his first name actually “Good”? But I digress…
When did you decide to get involved with Local Government?
I’m not sure I ever did decide. I just wanted to deliver presents to kids around the world, and the next thing I know I’m having to manage elves, maintain a sleigh and report my KPI’s to an Elected Council that’s all over me like a cheap suit.
But’s that’s the business I guess.
What do you love about your role?
Well, primarily of course, the biscuits and milk. But beyond that, I do enjoy bringing some joy to the kids around the world, and the perks that come with my association with Coca-Cola.
What would you be doing if it wasn’t working for Local Government?
I’d probably semi retire, and work just for a month or so a year as one of those charlatan “Mall Santas”. What an easy gig, no responsibility, and it would be funny because no-one would know that I’m the real Santa.
What are you famous for?
Well, lots of stuff of course, like I’m mentioned in lots of songs such as “Jingle Bells”. Speaking of Jingle Bells, that song gave me lots of trouble because in it they say that I use a one-horse open sleigh, which really ticked off Rudolph and the rest of the reindeers.
They got the union involved, saying I was trying to make them redundant, but we worked through it. Just for the record, I don’t know anything about a one-horse open sleigh.
Do you have an embarrassing moment in your work life that you are willing to share?
Lots of people would expect me to say that occasionally, I get stuck in a chimney, because I’m carrying a few extra kilos. To be honest, that has happened, but not as often as you’d think.
And actually the couple of times when it did happen, it had nothing to do with Christmas, but that’s another story.
What advice would you have to anyone looking to get into local government?
Think things through and make sure you know what you are getting yourselves in for. I must admit, I didn’t think things through. I was in a bar one night, maybe after a couple of sherries, and made this statement to everyone about how “I’m going to deliver presents to all the kids in the world”.
Then I looked more closely at the KPI’s and realised it was a bigger task than I thought. I mean, to get it all done in one night I need to visit about 970 households a second, and I have to remember millions of wish lists.
So, in retrospect I should have taken the time to work that out first.
Any improvements planned?
Well, we are looking at using technology better. I’m trialling a system where instead of obtaining the wish lists and delivering the presents, we’ll encourage the kids to Skype in and tell us their wish lists that way.
I’m working on an avatar that will nod at the right moments, so I won’t actually have to be present during the Skype calls.
And the gift deliveries will be using Amazon as a drop-shipper, so we won’t have to hold any stock, and an automated email will let the kids know what’s on the way. So finally, I may be able to relax at Christmas like everyone else.
But, we may to go out to community consultation on that before we go live.