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Hammond and Governance 

For those who have not seen the Press Release on 5 October - here it is in its entirety. 

I publish this principally to bring to your attention the extarordinary new role now being played in the political arena by CEO David Hammond. 

It seems that he has some difficulty in coming to terms with his role as a paid officer of the Council, as opposed to the role of Mayor who is supposed to have carriage of the governance role.

Read closely the wording of Hammon's release in regard to rates:

"The Council has achieved consecutive rate reductions of -5.9% over two years.

"This means that the Coromandel can no longer be labelled with having excessive rates, which ratepayers were constantly telling me when I first arrived in the District. Just the other day a lady came up to me on the street and thanked me for the rates on her two Thames homes coming down by $800. She has better financial security this year.

"But just reducing rates is not the goal in itself. We're building a dependable and consistent cost structure that new and existing businesses and residents of the Coromandel can rely on.

"I know that some have criticised TCDC and our approach, but that's unfortunately what we can expect to attract when we start to challenge the status quo" said Mr Hammond".

I believe that this kind of statement crosses the political line, and is totally inappropriate in a statement from the Chief Executive. If the person occupying the same position in Auckland City made that statement he or she would be shot down in flames both politically and in the mainstream media - something that admittedly just does not exist in this neck of the woods. But that is no excuse for Hammond to start spouting Leach's line, and placing himself firmly in the bosom of the current elected Council. Imagine the outcry if the Treasury Chief Executive started spouting off publicly about wonderful tax decreases. Note also that the 'lady in the street' thanked Mr Hammond for the rate decrease - not the Council - interesting.

It is interesting to note the patronising 'brushing-off' of criticism of the wonderful new Hammondised TCDC as simply "challenging the status quo." Clearly, he believes that to answer criticism is below his dignity. I have heard no criticism in other media, all of which appear firmly in the Mayor's pocket. It appears that most criticism has originated on this site, and I actually take the failure of Hammond and his team of PR flacks to respond as a compliment. The continued smooth PR onslaught is professionally designed to stroke a soporific and supine audience. 

And  if he is going to skite about rate reductions, then he should in fairness, and in the same breath indicate the anticipated increase in borrowing that has been incorporated in the the latest Ten Year Plan. Their much vaunted rate decrease does not look so good alongside an $30m increase in borrowing, though there are signs that capital expenditure is being reigned in. Otherwise, he is just acting as a supporting mouthpiece for Leach.  

Mr Hammond should tread very carefully - he maybe in his second job as Chief Executive, but he clearly still has a great deal to learn about being a CEO. His organisation chart indicating twelve direct reports reveals a high level of nervousness, and control freak behaviour that invites a bad outcome, both personally, and for the organisation.

I applaud some of the changes that he has made, but he going to have to learn very quickly to let go a little. Some of his choices in the senior echelon are less than meritorious. By way of example, our Council has gone from one of the best served in the planning area to an almost total disaster area. The consequences of such an upheaval will always take time to become evident, but that time will come.    

For the sake of Mr Hammond's relationship with future council's, I implore him to think very carefully before he puts pen to paper in the public arena in the future, and then think again. It is not his job to claim plaudits for wonderful achievements in the rates area - that is council governance business, and the Mayor's sole prerogative to skite about. In other words, he should remember his place in the overall scheme of things, or he may find the advent of a new mayor with views contrary to those of Leach embarrassing.    




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Reader Comments (1)

Rates are a funny thing - me and my mates were discussing it the other night at the club and we reckon that what Hammond said is not quite right. Well one of the me mates reckons he has inside info and the truth is the rates were programmed to come down anyway once the 3 waste water plants were completed and it said so in the last 10 year plan - so who is spinning the wheels?
and Bob reckons all this baloony about a national average rate and we are only $95 short of it is something else. He reckons there is no such thing as a national council so how can you have a national average rate - as he points out 32.5% of the Peninsula is non rateable DOC land, we have 11 water treatment plants, 9 waste water plants, 4 community boards [almost the same cost as Council to operate he reckons] a land value based rate when the majority of Councils are capital value rating and soon the Iwi will be the biggest landowners- and you Bill point out a $30m increase in borrowing - who's kidding who - me mates reckon 'you can fool some of the people sometimes but not all the people all of the time' -- probably why the boys reckon we have the biggest number of PR people [up from 1 last Council to now 6] than any other Council they know of [though meself I think the super city may be bigger!] - but anyway Bill keep up the good work - it keeps us entertained over here on the other coast -

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCyclops

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