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Time to Grow-Up & Front-Up

I guess that after three years of blogging, and reporting the activities of the Council - both those casting it in a favourable light, and more often, unfavourable, I must expect a reaction.

But never before to my knowledge has my blog been jammed from being accessed through the Council computer system. This is a relatively easy exercise of course, and was apparently instituted on Thursday afternoon when management determined that too many people were accessing the site, and making comments.

It seems unlikely to me in any case that comments have originated from within the Council. In fact, the IP addresses do not indicate this to be the case, and I cannot imagine any commenter risking identification in this manner.

In other words, the close-down is censorship - nothing more nor less. Hammond's paranoia is understandable in the circumstances. His culpability with regard to management of the IT Manager is clear for all to see - the arrangements with Track24 and Guru were at least encouraged, if not initiated by Hammond and/or Day for reasons that may, or may not be simply related to encouragement of local enterprise. Whatever the case, it is indicative of incompetence, or naivety, or worse.

My going out on a limb on this matter goes back a fair way, but what happened last week was nothing short of extraordinary, and required specific comment. The obvious attempt to lay the entire responsibility for this state of affairs at Foster's feet smacks of cowardice in my view. It is time that Hammond came clean, and took steps to restore his shattered credibility, and it is equally time that Leach began to take an interest in what has been happening behind the scenes with his hand-picked CEO.




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Reader Comments (17)

Well Sauron has become somewhat precious as he attempts to protect Mordor from the White Wizard.

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Touche Peter, you are right on that account!

These partnerships were encouraged (by both Hammond & Day) to assist with economic development within the region.

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTheTruthAlwaysComesOut

well Leach knows how to pick 'em !
Would be very interested to know what Hammonds track record was like at Ruapehu District Council?
This Council is on a very slippery slope to say the least. Funny how 'Informed' has gone to ground - maybe not so Informed after all !
Thames is a small town and despite the fact that HH and CFM only tell the 'sanitised party line' stories -[ those straight from the Council press releases]--- the other side of Council is filtering out into the public arena - the side of conflict amongst staff, ill feeling towards the CEO and distaste of Leach's bullying manner. The appointment of new staff without advertising of positions, involvement of Council with private companies seemingly without the right protocols in place, possibly even the secondment of staff to private businesses, the draconian treatment of current staff --the list is growing at an alarming rate
It would appear that Council is like a huge dormant volcano about to erupt into life spewing people and reputations far and wide, destroying the good work and staff morale of previous years. One can only hope that those persons who gave donations towards Leachs campaign in return for a clean out of certain staff are happy at the outcome? Leach and Hammond have alot to answer too [as do the elected members who sit on their hands-to scared to challenge Leach]- I doubt if the damage done will ever be repaired - a once proud Council has been brought to it's knees-- how much longer can we allow this to happen?.

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterToe rag

At last some of the truth! There is so much more that Leach, Hammond and Day have hidden and want kept out of the public arena.

The truth will set you free!

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTheTruthAlwaysComesOut

I am not sure whether to laugh or cry.........

It was so amazing that all of a sudden two elections ago the local media that would have numerous articles weekly criticizing the Council all of a sudden stop. It seemed the radio station only published good news stories too.

Anyone that was involved with criticizing a certain historic subdivision, or what was happening in general, was found to be not worthy of a job at Council, yet could get amazing jobs at other places in NZ..... they must have been useless...... yeah right.

Not a single debate was held in Council chambers for how long? Democracy? Did they all really agree with every decision being made?

Crazy decisions regarding placing economic development at the centre of the picture and wasting how much money in the process. Maybe people value the Coromandel because there is not so much Economic Development there, what happens when there are 100,000 people living in the Coromandel, will it still be the same? Is that really what the people want? Maybe looking at core functions would have been better.

TCDC = commercial software developer? How is that portal going?

Council not complying with their own rules, mind you, they did not expect anyone else to comply as that does not allow Economic Development.

Got to cut staff numbers..... most teams get cut yet the PR team goes from 1.5 to 4-5 [including consultants].......ssshhh don't mention the consultants ...... oh...... how many staff are at Council now?

Artificially hold rates down, but someone will have to pay for it in the future, or accept a lower level of service.

Peoples lives and that of their families get messed up along the way. So sad, even if they have had things signed off at the highest level. I guess it will just be another staff member leaving with another pay out like many before them once it is recognised that it might not look good if they come out with all the issues into the public arena or heavens forbid get a employment lawyer involved.

Wonder if there was a pre-determination case and what it cost the ratepayers when the mayor said on public radio that he was going to get rid of the CEO then had to interview him and tell him that he did not get the job based on the quality of the other candidates......... <stunned silence>

Finally, banning a website from being looked at by staff in their break times can only mean one of two things, it contains inappropriate or objectionable material, or too many staff are spending too much time looking at it and it is deemed to be time wasting. Not sure what category is worse to be in? You don't like what is being printed, or your staff like what is being printed so much that they have to spend so much time a day looking at it?

Like I said, I do not know whether to laugh or cry. Control the media, control the people.

March 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVeni, vidi, abiit

Bill you are so wrong on this one (regarding Foster), .and you are going to be supremely embarrassed about where you have pointed your finger when the truth comes out- as are a lot of people who have had their trust abused by this man.
They too will be shocked and disappointed.
It is for good reason that Council have stayed quiet on this so far, and once due process is finished, you will know that the only integrity you should be questioning in this disgusting fiasco is that of Foster.

March 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSore Rib

With reference to this post and a couple of other recent ones, I feel very sorry for my ex colleagues and good friends who still work at the Council. Many tell me they feel trapped because they have partners who have jobs here, families that are settled, and therefore its not just a simple matter of quitting - especially if what they do is highly specialised and requires years of training and experience to get good at - similar jobs are just not available locally. Ive not talked to anyone for a long time who enjoys working there. The staff appear to have two tactics under the current management regime. The first is to put their head down, carry on with the job, and try not to be noticed by anyone in a senior position, in case they are deemed to be doing something wrong. The second is to become Leaches and Hammond's best friend. Both are purely survival tactics, and do nothing to advance Council, or staff's personal wellbeing, morale, or feeling of positive community contribution that should be an inherent outcome of working for a local Council. I wonder if the sick day total is starting to increase? Hang on guys and girls, be strong, I get the feeling that relief will arrive in some form or another before too long.

March 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBig Kahuna

Thank you Sore Rib for your contribution - there has to be another side to the story of course, but I do not resile in any way from what I have posted. And I repeat my earlier comment - "I am not about to defend or attack the action itself - I know far too little of the circumstances to do that, but I believe that I am perfectly entitled to comment on the background and process."
There is far wider issue involved here as you may have gathered from the comments above.

March 11, 2014 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Good one Sore Rib - not sure that Bill actually pointed a finger on this one but fired a shot gun across the bows of Council in general. From what I have read and heard one would lead to believe that the IT Manager was caught up in some economic developement project involving both current Council staff, ex council staff, council contracts [ Council bought out a press release last year lauding the IT department] -- none of which could happen without the knowledge of Council staff/ and or elected members. The three people at the top must have known or at least been encouraging the actions of the It department -- if not then the Council, under Leach, is in a free fall.
Sore Ribs- I doubt whether the truth will EVER come out - after all this is TCDC.Not sure as to whether your ribs are sore from laughing so much or you have been a Council punch bag at some time - but if you feel you are right then let us all know what happened -please!!! [ otherwise your comments may be construed as a smoke screen by a Council employee!!]

March 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTwice Bitten

Just read and reread Veni comment -- oh so how true in every count. The HH and CFM have crawled back into their respective shells - Warren Male {CFM} is now the Council spokeperson on the Rail trail -- not even an elected member-go figure -job for a Leach's mate??
Right on about the subdivision- the applicant stated at the time 'heads will roll' and heads did- clever, intelligent hard working staff were levered out of TCDC by what ever means available. When the Mayor tells a group that 'if your name is not on the white board you don't have a job' - that has to be a new low in staff management.
Correct Veni, re increasing numbers on the Peninsula -- people come here because of a certain lifestyle- most ratepayers are absentee ratepayers- 55% of all ratepayers do not live here. Coromandel will always have trouble in keeping rates down when 33.5% of the Peninsula is in Government control and DOC for example pay little or no rates at all--though this is set to change with the Treaty Settlememnt due shortly!
Staff numbers would now be at an all time high I would suggest- the PR department has had the most amazing growth - all so the Mayor can put out a 'positive spin' on Council- but really you can only maintain such a farcade for a limited period.
I was always amazed that Ruru did not take Council to the employment court re the Mayors pre-election comment that Ruru was not up to the task BUT could apply for the job--- talk about a 'constructive dismissal if ever there was one
We can all remember those famous words uttered in Thames -- [along the lines of]-' Give me three years and I will throw a blanket over Thames and choke it'. Choke it Leach has ----- choked the press, the elected members, staff and anybody else who dares to speak out - all the hall marks of a bully I would suggest.
Council, or for that matter no business, can survive under such an iron fisted approach - leaders smarter than Leach have tried and failed.
Of a more serious note is that the elected members allow [and condone] the Mayor in his approach----- the Mayor/ Council are widely ridiculed by their peers- many of the LG elected members in an around NZ are asking --'what is happening at Thames Coromandel?. I also know from emails I get, that staff still working at Council are very unhappy and now after 3.5 years of this group of elected councillors [bar one], alot of ratepayers are starting to privately question as to what is happening with Council. - My thoughts go out for those who have been bullied into leaving - the upheaval must have been devastating - but this is what happens in Local Government- there is always the risk of getting a rogue council elected over the top of you - not a nice envroment to work in I must admit.
My greatest concern is that the Thames Coromandel Council still has another 2.5 years of the current Mayor and councillors - what will we end up with by 2016???
Keep those comments rolling in - this Council needs to be exposed for what it is----we need to put some 'sunlight' onto the actions of senior staff and elected members

March 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterInside/Out

oops - gone all quite Bill-- Sore Ribs must be doing a rethink?

March 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTwice Bitten

I talk from within the castle walls. Perhaps investigation into processes a tier or two higher – both in fact! The Hammond and Day combo. To us mere mortals that require employment we must keep our mouths shut. To all those lucky souls that have escaped, we envy you!

The only way to expose the truth is for those that know it to SPEAK OUT.

March 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterspeakout

Following this stream with interest - here are a couple of interesting FACTS for you 'speakout'

1. Day was appointed the Deputy CE role over others that actually deserved to get job! General consensus from staff is that he is clearly out his depth. This is evident with his thoughtless decisions and lack of due process.

2. As for Hammond, Ruapehu DC threw a celebratory party when he left (only he wasn't invited). That says it all.

Don't they make a great team!

March 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTruthhurts

All along I thought it was at the top- but we must include all 3, Mayor, CEO and Deputy CEO -- nothing can or should happen without all 3 being in alignment.If not, then as Twice Bitten said, ' the Council under Leach, is in free fall'.
Thank you to Speakout and Truthhurts. Could this be a classic case for the Auditor General to investigate [ as toothless as they are]
What is of a greater concern is that the Audit Committee under Cr. FOX seems unaware of what is going on - after all this is the ratepayers watchdog group within Council [and Fox was very critical about previous Councils]- are they asleep at the wheel or so naive that they have been blinded by all the hype from the PR department?

March 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterToe rag

I concur with you Toe Rag. Leach started the Council on a slippery slope by bringing in Hammond who paid off a lot of GOOD staff and implemented a culture of poor decision making. We lost so much knowledge some even specialists in their field. Because of the great 2012 restructure Hammond had too many direct reports so enter Deputy Day, someone else to share the responsibility of poor decision making. There are numerous things that should be said but will they be? Heres a few things that should be known. Council tried to 'partner' with an Auckland Digitisation Company and got burnt. It was brought back inhouse at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and I can't believe no one was 'walked out' for that! I believe that was Hammonds good idea but Leach definitely knew! Bring on some of Days examples of great leadership and decision making..... (deadly silence) thats because there aren't any. He certainly bleeds budget! Well he can only hide that for so long. Speaking of budget lets talk economic development. Day gave Guru the new economic development grant. This is an already established company why did the money not go to a smaller Company or even Companies? Id like to see the applicants and criteria on which Guru were selected. The theme here is Leach Hammond and Day are all responsibile for the shocking mess the Council is in including the budgets. They ALL knew and were & still are to some extent supportive of the 'partnership' approach they can pretend otherwise but we all know! They have NO respect of staff.

March 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterI-Know

Fox and Leach are thick as thieves! Hammond won't last long. Very soon they will recognise what a liability he is. Without Hammond does that mean Day will step in as CE. God help you all Im not sure which would be worse!

March 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertruthhurts

I forgot to mention to all those Council staff be strong. There is a big wide world out there. GET OUT while you are still sane. Its a great feeling and you wont regret it. I feel so much more appreciated. We don't need a 'Culture Club' here - what a joke!
Yes I agree truthhurts which would be worse? They are 'same same' . Im glad im not there!

March 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterI-Know

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