Executive Team

The Council's Elected Members are responsible for employing the Chief Executive and its principal relationship is with the Chief Executive.

The Chief Executive is responsible for establishing and maintaining the operational structure of the Council. A group of senior managers, who are called the “executive management team”, manage key work programmes. 

Council staff provide the Elected Members with policy advice and implement policies under the direction of the Chief Executive. They decide the operational approach needed to complete the Council’s policies and to achieve the results the Council wants.


Chief Executive
Ben Smit

The Chief Executive is responsible for the operational and financial management of Waitomo District Council and is the strategic advisor to the Mayor and Councillors. He is their one employee.

About Ben

Born in Te Aroha in the Thames Valley, Ben has lived mainly in rural New Zealand in the Waikato and Rotorua. He has worked in senior financial management roles in the dairy industry, public and private health sectors and more recently, 12 years in the Local Government sector.  Ben started as Chief Executive at Waitomo District Council in February 2022 after being Chief Executive at South Waikato District Council. He is a Chartered Accountant and graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Management Studies, majoring in Accounting and Marketing.


General Manager - Infrastructure Services
Shyamal Ram

The Infrastructure Services Group manages the district’s roading infrastructure, water, wastewater, stormwater, waste management and properties such as elderly housing and aerodrome.

The group is also responsible for community facilities comprising recreation and culture, and parks and reserves.

About Shyamal

Shyamal has over a decade of Local Government experience. Before joining the Local Government sector, Shyamal worked for various consulting and contracting organisations in New Zealand and Australia. Shyamal is a member of Engineering New Zealand, with a Master of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Honours) from The University of Auckland, and a Diploma in Civil Engineering from Unitec. Shyamal was recently awarded the prestigious Emerging Leader of the Year award by Taituarā – Local Government Professional Aotearoa.



General Manager - Strategy and Environment
Alex Bell

The Strategy and Environment Group is responsible for community engagement and communications, and the development of strategies, policies, bylaws and plans for the Waitomo District. Plans include the Proposed District Plan, Long Term Plan and Annual Plan.

The group also covers regulatory functions; regulatory compliance (alcohol licensing, animal control and environmental health) and regulatory services (building consents, resource consents, emergency management, and land information).

About Alex

Born and raised in Te Awamutu, Alex attended the University of Waikato where he completed a Bachelor of Law and a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Planning. Alex has worked in both the public and private sectors. In the private sector Alex has worked as a specialist Resource Management and Local Government solicitor and as a general practice solicitor.  In Local Government Alex previously worked as a Senior Planner for the Waitomo District Council, and more recently in Central Government working for the Ministry for the Environment.



General Manager - Community Services
Helen Beever

The Community Services group is responsible for Human Resources and employment, customer services, economic and community development, events, funding and grants and health and safety.

About Helen

Born and raised in Adelaide Australia, Helen has worked in the local government sector in New Zealand for over 25 years.  She has held leadership roles across the organisation, predominantly in the community services area.  Helen completed studies with the Auckland University of Technology and holds a Graduate Diploma in Economic Development.