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Council Briefs

The meeting was principally to deal with the Sugar Loaf and Community Empowerment (Governance) issues. Those took up most of the day, and I will deal with them separately.

The Meeting

Leach was in full flight - he took exactly 30 minutes of everyone's time after the CE Report to boast about what he has achieved, to rubbish all previous councils, and to stamp on anyone daring to criticize his outstanding performance. Waverers were assured that they could look forward to being made to look good in his shadow leading up to the next election, and commentators like me should prepare for being made to look silly. Someone must have had a bellyache behind closed doors, but they all remained silent and obedient during this discourse (rant!).

Leach again deplored questioning on any document on the Order Paper - apparently any questions should be made of presenters prior to the meeting. Recalcitrants had better watch out. - questioning is 'time-wasting' and they will end up on the 'naughty-chair' in future, never mind the democratic right of members to question staff - that is old-hat, and not to be tolerated in the efficient world of Leach's Council.

As for members:

French - quiet as always - you are never quite sure where he stands on anything.

McLean - A Budda like appearance, bursting forth on matters of direct concern to Whitianga.

Connors - Was sat on by Leach with great vigour - she smiled and crawled back into her shell.

Wells - Straight man to Leach's comedic act - I never know whether he resents, or enjoys it.

Hoadley - Grandstanding as usual - this time over her Sugar Loaf Judicial role, in her dreams!

Fox - Good for bursts of raucous laughter that would blow out a hearing aid, and not much else.

Bjlevitch - Appearance of deep thought, but little emerges to confirm it.

Bartley - Pompous old ass - as usual, with nothing to contribute except hot air.

They are truely a below average bunch who are totally under the sway of Leach. He on the other hand is bombastic, full of self-importance, and bullies the room into submission. He clearly cultivates some of the staff, and they behave like schoolboys in the 'good' class - pathetic really. Obvious favourites yesterday were Day, Baker, Marshall, &  Napia and they all departed with hand shakes or other expressions of approval. Hammond is clearly the Head Boy and favourite son - he clearly does everything that he is told, and reports the naughty ones to the Principal. Job preservation is foremost in everyone's mind of course and you can hardly blame them, but they should at least attempt to retain some self respect. 

Chief Executive's Report

What was of major interest was that for the first time the Chief Executive's Report was presented in open meeting - a move that is to be commended, and that is entirely the idea of the CEO who stated that he dislikes keeping matters in Public Excluded - that is a major change and the Mayor should take note - his predilection for closed door meetings is without precedent in my experience. Perhaps he will take a leaf out of Hammond's book. Let us hope.

The Report has useful information and I include the URL here

The Organisation Review item is quite puzzling - there is certainly a great deal of confusion within the organisation as to who stays, who goes, and who gets to to apply for other positions.

The reference to I T savings is a real doozy - just where the $9.5m is coming from ("budgeting processes" just does not cut the mustard) - total obfuscation.

Clearly he is irritated at the manner in which the Building Unit changes have been reported - sorry Mr Hammoind - you could have been a whole lot clearer in the way in which you outlined the proposals in your Proposal, and not only in this regard. We in the media (and I guess that is me, because I don't think anyone else got into detail) have apparently left out the appointment of the Sector Advisory Group that will be appointed at the next Judicial meeting - watch out for Marshall Hutt's name - he will be front and centre for sure, having strongly supported Leach's election. It is supposed to improve relationships, address customer issues, and share information.

Compliance and quality auditing are placed outside the Unit so as to retain impartiality. I admit I find the whole structure a nightmare - apparently Judicial are to consider 'insourcing' the work back to Council staff at their next meeting. Whatever the outcome, relationships within this structure have been badly , if not irreparably damaged. 

Budget Update

Steve Baker (CFO) apparently announced at the Whangamata Community Board meeting that the re-structure will save $80 a ratepayer. All very well, but just what has it done to morale and levels of service. Our Council has lost some excellent , and probably irreplaceable people as a result of this upheaval, and the consequences will not become apparent until very much later. Leach is confident that he has achieved what he promised in the election campaign, and is as cocksure as I have ever seen him. He truly is the Emperor, and no-one in the castle is game to tell him the state of his clothing, or anything else.

Nick Smith's 8 Point Reform Package

Hammond spoke to David Carter at some function, and he indicated that the package was a done deal having gone through Cabinet afer a week long fight by Nick, but that only the first four items would take priority in the meantime. What that means is anyone's guess, but clearly Carter is not enamoured with the Package, and I suspect that changes are on the way regardless of Cabinets imprimatur.

Mayor's are to have much enhanced powers to implement their vision, strategy and policy, and councils will get the power to set top executive salaries - a long overdue measure as CEO's have exercised inordinate power in this regard in the past. Steve Ruru should never have got away with instituting five  weeks leave - Leach made a great piece of theatre about how the previous Council gave away the five weeks - it just shows how little he understands about how the system has worked in the past.

The thought of Leach having 'enhanced' powers is frightening - the man is a bully and a bore who gets his jollies by behaving outrageously, and there will not be too many around the Castle who look forward to working another term with the atmosphere he generates. Though there are many in the District who of course feel a frisson of thrill with this approach to managing the Council that has become the object of so much hate. This has coincided with rate increases to pay for their beloved wastewater schemes. Leach's obvious appeal to this group was exemplified in the outrageous manner in which he blamed the previous Council for the five week leave provision.

Hammond's Report is well worth a read in regard to several other issues that are current in the District.




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Reader Comments (1)

There is absolutely no way the restructure will save $80 per ratepayer. ,

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGunna

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