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Saturday
Mar152014

The Inside from the Outside 

I am posting ths comment because I think it can be assumed that it has been written by someone with an intimate knowledge of what has been going on inside the Castle - just as I had hoped. There must be more - please keep the comments coming so that we can piece together the full truth, and nothing but the truth. 

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.

And to that I will add an observation made in mid December 2013 by a member of the public. Funnily enough, this was reported to me by two people, and it therefore has 'legs'. Perhaps it demands an explanation because recent events give rise to a number of disturbing questions. 

Three people were observed at lunchtime enjoying a convivial pint of best ale alfresco at the Brian Boru. Those people were none other that our very own Ben Day, recently departed Murray Foster, and Guru Digital's Shaun Cuttriss. How very companionly, and appropriate an opportunity to 'catch up' and exchange seasonal greetings. On the other hand, indicative of a relationship that went well beyond merely business, and somewhat indiscreet. 

Contributions by anyone who can expand on the relationship with Shaun Cuttriss in particular are welcome.  Further information of the basis of the allocation of the Economic Development Grant to Guru will be sought - it was in the Annual Plan at $200,000, and if it was sent entirely in Guru's direction, it demands an explanation - I heard it stated at the time of the AP that it would be "spread around" rather than concentrated  in one direction.

All of a sudden the matter of Guru Digital begins to take on an entirely new dimension, and could well provide the basis for a referral to the AG. Keep it coming -  I begin to smell a rat! 

 

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Reader Comments (10)

Ok people..we have all heard about the years of corruption,the incompetence,the bullying, the lack of due process.Evidence is required. Here is where some of it might be..how bout an OIA on the invoicing for Track 24?Guru?look on the invoice for the cost code..see who signed it..look at the rest of the expenditure on that cost code..the cost codes can hide a multitude of sins...dont need the total as that might be commercially sensitive and withheld but entitled to the cost code totals and the line item information ie what was the bill for?look for consultant cost codes in each activity budget all spread out and especially 'other' cost code lines...where has the money come from to fund the expensive departures?salary budget is very unlikely?The finances get reported to the Audit commitee, the juducial committee..its meant to be a check..see if it matches..at the end of the day the money gets paid out to someone from somewhere..only a few people sign this off..OIA the money trail..

March 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTimesup

Just as I thought. Bill you need to act on this information before certain staff make amendments!!
For some months now rumours have been around that not all is well at Council-- you know the old story, where there is smoke there is fire- well the flames are now clearly visible.
Too me, not only are Leach, Hammond and Day in the gun but so are the elected Councillors- for year on year they have criticised previous councils, yet under their watch the wheels have come off the trolley - they are all culpable. My biggest concern is that the Audit Committee under the chair of Lt. Col. [Rtrd] Fox [and Leach is a ex officio member] have not had the whatsits to call into account what appears to be rampant spending without due course to probity, items such as the M.Bay Sports Complex debacle [which seems to be a no-go subject for Councillors]-- yet what happened has been entirley under Leach's watch.
Bill you need also to ask how much has been paid out redundances, for I have been told it is big money and all because those people have been hounded out of this Council for daring to make a stand -- not being compliant enough for Leach. These were some of NZ local Governts. smarts - with most having gone onto better jobs. Amongest the many stories doing the rounds was that one of the payouts concerned a 'sexual harrassement' claim againist a elected member- I only hope this was not true and it was just a story!
One of the problems about small council elections is that candidates seek financial help and those paying [either in kind or cash] to help candidate out feel that when their candidate 'gets home' that they have some right to tell 'their man' how to run the Council and from what I saw and heard about the 2010 election this seems to be the case-- certain backers are now in favoured positions or have the Mayors cell number for those 'all important calls ' to be made- so Bill bring it on - it has all the appearances of a Thamesgate in the making!!

March 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIrate Ratepayer

Irate ratepayer is on the money..all public funds..should be transparent decision making..something is very wrong here surely?Ask about redundancies..there will be a cost code for that under the restructure..but it would have blown that budget well and truly..there will be another code for a project that will have the amounts spread across it in the books..check the dates some of it might be well after the project concluded..some people may have got farmed out contracts for example so they could continue to get paid so no pretend 'redundancy' money showing in the books for them..according to my (good) sources these costs amount to many hundreds of thousands..not counting the additional costs in actual consultants/outsourcing to supposedly get the work done which has been a documented failure..Everyone is held to ransom in there now..whether because they cant get another job or because they are so compromised professionally from simply existing in this regime..Another rumour is the existence of a recorded message Leach may have left, possibly great material for PG, now helpfully stored in ECM.. the truth can set you free...

March 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTimesup

I totally agree that the truth will set you free. Thats why I feel I should say......I know for a fact that the alleged sexual harassment incident happened. This is not a rumor!

March 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTheTruthAlwsysComesOut

I know about a certain incident that happened to a certain staff member from a certain elected member that then departed. They were someone that did not like what was going on and how it was being done. I also know that they were someone that did not want the physical contact that occurred either. Wonder what that cost?

ECM holds many treasures if the right people get given the right directions to go find them.

The one that I would like to get to the bottom of was the alleged substantial payment that occurred to a certain software company some 2+ years ago that then had to be "fixed" as it seemed that certain expenditure policies were not followed.... we don't need to tender that one?....... they had to keep that quiet and repair the document trail. I know that there were many concerns at the time by staff as the two people involved went to the same church. I have not seen anything that could be considered proof, but I know some people know about it.

The other one that I would like to get to the bottom of is the stories about the Mayor telling regulatory staff not to pick on certain people and to not do their job or follow legal processes. Also stories of TCDC deliberately not complying with their own consents and regulatory staff having problems getting support to ensure that there is no bias, but it seemed that they could not comply as it would hurt the local economy. Like I said, I would love to know all the details surrounding these events.

I hope the fact that the TCDC shows on my CV will not hinder me in years to come. So many good people and their families are getting hurt. There are still many good people at the TCDC and I know they are hurting that they are being tarnished by all this.

Oh to be a fly on the wall of the management team meetings these days, there must be a lot being discussed after reading this blog. [sorry I could not refer to them as the senior ""leadership" team..... it just does not sit well with me].

I guess if there is nothing to hide, they will call in the AG themselves as that would be the best and quickest way of cleaning all this up. If there is nothing to hide, let the AG come in and speak to all current and past staff. The AG is not dumb, they will be able to tell the difference between lies and the truth. As this Council is all about transparency I am sure that they would welcome it with open arms.

Maybe there is a challenge in there for you to pass on Bill?

March 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVeni, vidi, abiit

Been away for a couple of days. These posts do not fill me with confidence about our beloved Council -- maybe TCDC stands for --The Council Doesn't Care!! -- or at least those at the top don't care.
What does ECM stand for- can anybody enlighten me please?
I agree the AG needs to be in on this- what now is needed is some names/contacts and unfortuneatly I am underdone on this, other than what others have told me over a beer or two and from where I sit it would appear that Leach has lost control. The mere fact that this Council has stooped to a new low with a sexual harassment moment-- what else is Council hiding??????
What really is happening within the walls of Council ----where are SoreRibs and Informed now------?

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIrate Ratepayer

"Irate Ratepayer" - ECM is the document management system that Council uses - its software that stores all the paperwork, including letters, photos, documents, spreadsheets, and so on, No paper files used anymore, Its actually a really good system, but theres no way anyone still working in Council will be able to access any employment files - they will have some very stringent security attached to them with regard to who can see them and who cant. Similarly anything remotely controversial will have "double secret" security to avoid unauthorised access.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSailing Away

Irate ratepayer, There is good news and bad news.
Good news is that people are speaking out at last.
Bad news is that there has not just been one incident of sexual harassment that I know of since the restructure , but a total of at least four.
No doubt about it.
Only one.involved an elected member, one involved senior senior management and two involved senior management. All swept under the carpet.
There are many ways to skin a cat, and if your name was on the LIST (and there was a list) then one way or another you would end up out in the cold.
Bill, The answers are all there tucked within ECM and the financial records. We won't see all the ramifications of this councils mismanagement today, (unlike the long suffering past and present TCDC staff) but without doubt the ratepayer will be hit very hard in the future.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLone Wolf

Thank you both Lone Wolf and Sailing Away.
I am reasonably new to this District and I am appalled by the actions of this Council.
In most areas the press and local radio station would holding the Council to account - but not here - why?
Is it Council has a hold over both re adertising as I have heard or just nobody is interested.
From what I can glean talking around and from reading this blog, I am positive that the long term problems here will rival Kaipara D/C
In fact I would go so far as to say that the local government minister should appoint commissioners to run this Council.
What absolutely floors me is your suggestion Lone Wolf that there has been 4 sexual harassment claims - makes Len Brown look a saint
Just been reading the Annual Plan budgets and there are more fishooks in it than a trawlers longline!
Wish there were a few more names , times, dates and places so that the AG could check this Council out - something is not right and it looks like the 'top 3' maybe out of their depth. Sadly this Council is spiralling out of control, but this being such a small Council and everybody appears to know everybody else or Heaven forbid, appear to be related to one another there appears little chance that information will come out -[I bet that is what elected members and senior staff are hopeing!!]

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNewbie

Let me know how you get on with the LGOIMA request Bill - I'm definitely interested to know what the answer is.

Here is one of the criteria for the 'Business Growth Fund' application. I believe this is what Guru was awarded. On the TCDC website, it states 'To be eligible applicants MUST either be a new business to the district or one that is not directly competing with other locally established companies'. Why did this go to Guru is the question you need to ask! They DO NOT meet this criteria. No doubt a back room deal like most of Days work.

Hopefully it wont be like the Freedom of Camping debacle going on at the moment. This is ALL because of Days lack of due process. He took a shortcut and it will probably cost ratepayers thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars but it also wont be the only one! Day is a liability just like Hammond. Leach architected it that way. Rate payers will pay the cost for their incompetence!

How are those staff numbers? It must be hitting the 250 mark by now? I bet this would paint a picture for you too Bill. You should ask about this in your LGOIMA request. Make sure you are specific enough to include Contractors working in the Council offices (but getting paid Contractor rates). There's more than one!

So many secrets TCDC. Lies and cover ups always come out!!

March 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIKnow as well

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