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Tuesday
May032011

Board Briefs 

Attendance

Both Cr. French and Cr. Hoadley failed to attend the 2 May CB meeting at which the TUGPRA account, and capital works priorities for the LTCCP were discussed. Their absence was noted and deplored on at least three occasions by Chair Strat Peters.

Both these Councillors have had a less than satisfactory attendance record at meetings since the advent of the new Council, and one has to ask whether they have their priorities right.

Cr. Hoadley has of course to travel all the way from Castor Bay to attend meetings, and probably considers it just not worth the hassle when there are no other meetings scheduled for the week. On the other hand, she is Chair of the Judicial Committee for which is she paid substantial additional fees, and apparently charges Council $178 mileage allowance for each trip, so that whether she likes it or not ratepayers are entitled to question her commitment.

Cr. French also appears to have pressing engagements elsewhere that prevent his attendance at meetings for which he is well reimbursed, regardless of attendance.

In missing yesterday’s meeting, these two missed out on contributing to important discussion regarding Board priorities.

On the other hand, based on the number of occasions the Chair indicated a wish that members “should not re-litigate matters that have been discussed within workshops (closed door!)”, one can assume that both these Councillors considered attendance unnecessary – after all, the TUGPRA was the only important issue up for discussion, and the decisions had already been made elsewhere (behind closed doors).

I will leave you to ponder the implications of this abuse of process.

 

Sports Waikato

It is interesting to note that although Council provides $75,000 a year to Sports Waikato for services provided to the District, there appears to be almost no oversight, or accountability. It is of course another of those ‘feel-good’ allocations that everyone applauds, but unless closely supervised, can slip off the radar with little or no result.

The local representative is now based well out sight in Whitianga – at least when based in Thames, we had some idea of what was going on, and just how active the representative was in overseeing sports activities, and providing assistance where required. Community Boards used to receive quarterly updates and Council an Annual Report.

There was an update listed on yesterday’s CB Agenda, but neither the report nor the representative arrived when scheduled, nor any explanation provided. This is exactly the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ situation anticipated when the change of location occurred last year at Sport Waikato’s instigation.

Sport Waikato's main activity seems to work around the organising of the Annual Sports Awards at Mystery Creek – a gigantic bash attended by district Councillors, well known sports people, and a large number of hangers on. A large part of this ‘function’ seems to be devoted to schmoozing the councillors in return for their continued support.

If this outfit cannot get its house in order, Council support should be reviewed, the sooner the better, and criteria should extend beyond worthiness.

 

Library

Members totally ignored the most important item in the Librarian’s Quarterly Report yesterday that referred to Library having a leaky building syndrome problem that is “more severe than initially thought”.

One would have imagined that this would have brought forth some level of inquiry as to just what were the implications of this. Expect a report shortly that indicates the need for thousands of dollars to be allocated for repair.

On the other hand, there was mild concern expressed over the Librarian’s problem with abusive youth, and graffiti. This problem has apparently evolved with the advent of free computer Internet access, and appears most pronounced with a particular individual who has been served a trespass notice.

Expect a request for expensive security services before too long if this continues due to employee health and safety requirements.

A request that the membership fees ($2645 last year) for subscribers from outside the district be removed was adopted with dissent expressed by Cr. Connors, who rightly questioned why we should even be contemplating such a move in the face of rate increases. The Librarian argued that other districts, including Hauraki have abolished fees, and that we should fall into line.

No provision for records to be kept in order to ascertain the effect of such a move was requested in adopting the motion. One would have thought that this would be the very least that would be required in order to keep track of its effect.

It could be argued that the effects on our ratepayers will be much greater than in Hauraki as residents of Tairua and other areas that predominantly shop in Thames come to see our library as their library of choice.

This unfortunately is just another example of an inexperienced Board having the wool pulled over its eyes. I predict that despite the assurances of our Librarian, who has previously, and often unfairly suffered the slings and arrows of antagonistic councillors, that this move will indeed cost Thames ratepayers one way or another. Not much, but enough!

Top marks to Cr. Connors – her opposition was noted, and recorded.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Good on you Bill for high-lighting the change in library policy. Every Thames ward ratepayer pays $81 each year for having a library whether they take out a book or not. There was no info about the number of Thamesites who use the
H,D,C, libraries. The charge to out-of-towners was $81 for the first book. Not unreasonable considering the town supplied the library and maintains it. How can the C.Bd. members have any clues about holding rates when they let this
rate increase (and it is) through.

May 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood

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