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How to Avoid the Rules!

When it comes to bypassing the rules on publicity prior to an election, our Mr Ben Day has again demonstrated that he is an expert. Just take a look at the Press Release he put out yesterday with the clear and obvious intent of bringing favour to incumbents on the Council through 'reflected glory'. 

It is by no means the first time that this manner of rule avoidance has been used, and it will not be the last. Mr Day has shown that he he is adept at this game, and by his actions that he regards the full bench of current councillors as compliant, supportive of his long term ambitions, and worthy of surreptitious support through the Council website.

The other aspect of this story relates to the long standing relationship between IT companys, and the Council. In the case of Track24, its promoters were previously Council employees, and work was conveniently placed in their direction at the outset without the knowledge of the Council at the time. It just happened that way, as things do when there is inadequate oversight.

In this Case, Guru has developed software "in partnership with the Council on the development of some of its products". The statement is also made that this partnership has enabled the Company (Guru) to "sell into other councils across New Zealand based on our experience with TCDC".

That statement is particularly interesting for a number of reasons that are not touched on in the Statement. The first is the item that was sneaked into the TYP earlier this year allowing the Council to invest up to $200,000 in local software ventures. The second is the apparent initial (three year!) failure of the Track24 software product that was employed to to provide project accounting oversight. This failure was clearly one of the reasons that TCDC failed to maintain proper oversight of the Mercury Bay Sports-complex project, and that enabled certain staff to operate out of sight and out of control.

Then came the software to beat all other software in regard to the handling of building consents. This was developed for TCDC and was to be marketed to a number of other councils, but I see no mention of this marketing coup in this Press Release. I have it on very good authority from within the team that was required to implement this software that it did not live up to expectations, and that it provided more headaches than it solved. 

Now we are told that this team of Guru gurus is developing "expanded form smooth motion videos and animation to include HR and e-learning training modules after Sean identified a need". The company also "develops websites for businesses of all sizes" - something incidentally that is done by hundreds of other companies.

None of this is meant to detract from what are obviously worthy local endeavours involving employment of highly paid people. That is wonderful and needs to be encouraged and I wish them every success. I simply wish to see this success achieved independent of Council involvement - financial or otherwise. 

What I object to is that our Council has chosen to invest money (or contemplate such) in private enterprise undertaking work of a highly speculative nature, and second that it is enabled to advertise its apparent success on our Council website at a time close to elections when it can only be construed as an attempt to promote 'sweetness and light' over all of the incumbent Council.

That is contrary to the rules, and will be referred in due course to the Ombudsman, along with other examples, for a ruling. Mr Ben Day had better watch his step - he has again demonstrated bias, or naivety, or both in carrying out his duties. Again I suggest that it is time that he was taken in hand by his Chief Executive. 




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Reader Comments (1)

Absolutely Bill... I was moved on reading the TCDC "noreply" email newsletter to send a reply, asking when TCDC starting to publically support private companies? The support offered to Guru's in the newsletter is so absolutely blatant (and lengthy) that I would wonder how it escaped the CE's notice?.
Maybe it is time for readers of this blog to actually do something other than read the blog? Maybe people need to start sending in complaints to the CE TCDC about these sorts of issues, so that individuals might be bought to account?

August 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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