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Wednesday
Jun152011

Thames Community Board

 

Once again, Monday's Board meeting had to proceed in the absence of Councillors Hoadley and Connors. The extraordinarily casual attitude these two in particular have demonstrated in regard to attendance at meetings for which they are receiving a substantial stipend cannot go uncommented.

If people are unable to meet their commitments to elected office, then they should not stand in the first place. It is just not satisfactory for members to place their own personal commitments in front of those to Council and Board.  In fact, it is a bloody disgrace.

We even had to listen to the reading of a rambling letter from Cr. Connors outlining her position on a particular matter (the School Ball Committee application for a hall subsidy – she was in favour!), as if it mattered. We never heard why she was absent – she had sought leave of absence for a period up until the 13th, and then apparently had some last minute work commitment.  Bollocks!

In Brief - Peter Wood                                                                                                                             Peter raised a number of issues, and is developing credibility through public forum with these inexperienced members. They listen carefully to him and were clearly disturbed by Peter’s comments on the totally dishonest manner in which rate increases had been presented to the public. He also indicated the interest of Thames Pensioner Housing Trust in the Lowe Avenue land (Cr. Hoadley to note!). He promoted individual treatment units for Matatoki water as an alternative to the vastly expensive schemes being promoted by staff, and the fact that there were no terms of reference presented with the recommendation to appoint members to the Destination Thames Sub-committee.

Sports Waikato                                                                                                                                        Lisa Jury of Sports Waikato presented a comprehensive report of a myriad of activities being carried out on the Peninsula, heavily biased towards the East Coast. This report was supposed to have been presented at the previous meeting, and comprised three pages of Power Points that contained little capable of being analysed or compared with previous performance. The substantial subsidy provided by ratepayers is not being properly overseen in my view, but members expressed themselves ecstatically happy with this once over lightly report.  One up to Sports Waikato and Lisa Jury. They certainly have great PR.

CEO Quaterly Report                                                                                                                                The only matter of importance that arose from this was the question of the inclusion of the Totara Palms to Kauaeranga Bridge footpath in the Resource Consent for the Hauraki Cycleway. Strat very correctly pointed out that this was a glaring omission from the RS application and that he had instituted a meeting with senior staff of both Hauraki and TCDC at which he had promoted its inclusion. This is because of its inadequate width (and incidentally that of the bridge itself which I have pointed out on numerous occasions). The CEO appeared unaware of this situation and my impression was that some staff may be hearing from him for not keeping him informed as its inclusion has very definite financial implications.

Hall Subsidies                                                                                                                                           The most drawn out discussion concerned an application by Thames High School Ball Committee to be re-designated from ‘commercial’ to ‘community’ for the purpose of Civic Centre hire.  Current criteria would not cover such a designation (amounting to a $432 subsidy) due to the Ball not being open to public, and charging for entry. The upshot was that the Board made a ‘special’ exception in this case and to cover the subsidy from ‘retained earnings’ – a convenient and ultimately risky procedure. The breaking of long-standing rules in this regard is unfortunate, and will lead to many other such applications – one for a cat competition was already on the table from the Public Forum). However, there is no doubt that the criteria need revision, and likewise the charging regime at each of the main three halls brought into line,

The discussion at least had the effect of bringing BM Baverstock out of her apparent inertia as she passionately argued for more liberal rules – all of which will of course lead to rate increases, albeit of a minor nature. 

Organisational Review                                                                                                                             This review has been going on very quietly in the background for some time, and will undoubtedly result in some substantial changes in the structure by which the TCDC operates. Clearly, certain positions are at risk, and reporting lines will alter. This is indeed long overdue and would likely have taken place even without the advent of Mayor Glenn Leach. Nevertheless, he is to be complimented for following through on his election promise. Some of the current reporting is crazy – for instance, the Financial Controller reports to the CEO through a Support Services Manager – this makes oversight of financial services a further step removed from Council, and would be almost unique compared with any other Council in the country.

All this emerged during an unplanned discussion about the absence of any proper support for the TCB – a situation brought about by the departure of two staff.  A temporary support person – Ross Pennington, appears to have anything but a hands-on role, and the ‘sinking lid’ has kept the positions from being replaced. The Chair expressed great frustration at the lack of permanent support, and the likelihood of the Review ignoring the Board’s dilemma, in contrast to the services provided by ‘managers’ to the other boards.  Cr. French offered to convene a meeting with the Mayor to discuss their concerns, and this was agreed to.  

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

A five minute talk on how community groups are getting subsidys from the ratepayers (who have to pay up) is to be on Big Valley Radio at 90.8 FM.

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood

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