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The Final Nail in the Whitianga Coffin

This morning Pam Howat gave her farewell speech - Pam is the final nail (I think) in the coffin of the Whitianga Sports-complex - the last to go down as the result of the enquiry that has gone on for far too long.

Readers will recall that I have predicted her demise on several occasions - it was either her or Steve Baker who had to take the rap for the obvious project accounting failure.

What is interesting is that Pam, a qualified accountant herself to whom Steve reported under the old regime until he was made a direct reportee to Hammond, took no effective role in the accounting function, though she did report on audit matters to the Audit Committee. When I asked in 2007 why this arrangement existed, I was told to mind my own business even though it was an incomprehensible arrangement to anyone with any background in business the size of TCDC. Ruru seemed strangely committed to the arrangement, and on one occasion indicated to me that it was because he was a qualified accountant himself - logic I could never quite understand. 

Whatever the case, someone had to carry the accounting can in regard to Whitianga, and Pam was it. Steve has appeared 'fire-proof' at every stage even though he had full responsibility for the accounting function. He has formed a close alignment with Hammond, and for that matter, Leach to the point where they are entirely dependent on him for their financial advice. I predict that at some stage, this dependence will cause them considerable embarrassment, and difficulty - the defining of 'internal borrowing' as being outside the ambit of debt calculation may well be one of the first. 

Following Reynolds came McCormick, then Whittle, then Pienaar and now Howat. Are then any more shoes to fall? - I doubt it, but you never know. It is not that I object to strong action being taken, it is just that some appear to have missed the axe through close associations formed since the advent of the new administration. It was obvious from the start that Pam did not fit in to the new regime, and she had to go - the body language at meetings said it all.

Condolences Pam - we never hit it off particularly well, but you did what you did well enough.    




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Reader Comments (1)

Farewell John, Pam, Francois, Lesley Lynlee etc.... respected and knowledgeable members of a once great organisation. It’s such a pity that the so called “governors’ ” of this District are nowhere to be seen when difficulties surface with complex projects....the buck stops with them but they seem perfectly happy to allow staff, who are simply implementing their decisions, to take the rap for their lack of oversight. In years to come projects such as the wastewater plants will be seen as value for money future proofing for the District....paid for in 2006 dollars.

A comment with regards to the reliance on development contributions as a source of revenue - it seems no one anywhere predicted the Global Financial Crisis – yet TCDC staff were expected to! This gives you an idea of the utter contempt with which hard working and long serving staff are held by the Leach regime assisted by his hired henchmen. Where is the accountability that elected members are supposed to be responsible for? In central government when a department stuffs up or doesn’t deliver the Minister resigns.....Leach and/or the Mercury Bay Board chair should be following this convention.

Another untold years of corporate knowledge goes out the many hundred does that make in the last year and what is the true cost to the community of such waste?

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterInsider

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