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Wednesday
Oct072015

'Extraordinary' Meeting In More Ways Than One!

The meeting went very much as suggested in an earlier post. with the addition of an innocuous presentation from WRC people on improving road safety. This led to the first stouch between Goudie/Leach - just a hint of what was to come - over what I have no idea. 

The WRC people just wanted to promote a regional approach to establishing speed limits and other safety measures, but it led to a three quarters hour debate while every councillor, and hangers-on voiced their pet hates in regard to bridges, road conditions, speed limits and anything they could think of on the spur of the moment. Goudie seemed to not want anyone to tell her what to do, or I think that is what it was!

Then came the Satisfaction Survey - enuf said - what a waste of time!

Financial Delegation all came about because of the need to spend unbudgetted money on IT when the potential for hacking became obvious. Petty arguments ensued over legal interpretations, but eventually they accepted that giving the Mayor, Deputy and Chair of Audit (two of!) delegation to approve $50,000 over-expenditure around "immediate risk" was accepted, along with a few others. But watch this - Leach indicated that this may need to be lifted for "commercial reasons." That is like a red flag.

But my information is that Day has 'gamed' the IT budget allocation since the departure of Murray Foster to the utter chagrin of others responsible for budgets. In my experience, there is invariably a back-story when requests are made for additional financial delegations.

Then came the 'hot one' - the Coromandel Heritage Region proposal for which they were seeking confirmation of the EDC resolution to get on with the 'Project Initiation Document.'

It was the signal for Goudie to distribute a paper in which she attacked the process of going out to potential stakeholders before they had an 'approved discussion document.' "There is no 'purpose', 'objectives' and 'outcomes.'" Nothing that identifies "options, and the pros and cons  and costs for each option."

Fair enough, and she accused the EDC of not doing that even though that was their mandate. The Adam's Proposal simply did not qualify. Day sat through all the item at the top of the table like a stuffed dummy - not one word emanated from his lips, but he needs to be careful - he is so much Leach's 'Charlie McCarthy.'

Goudie wanted Council to "take back control," and get on with carrying out the preliminary work needed before it goes to public consultation. Alternatively, she wanted to 'workshop' the Adams document to either accept or discard it for later public discussion. Only then should "stakeholders" be involved with appropriate budget alongside, and a clear understanding as to how the public responses will be dealt with, and "how the District will decide on any resulting draft proposal."

Her paper received scant consideration before Leach laid into her, and the newspapers, and groups who have reacted to the proposal prematurely. Goudie was accused of being the leader of this opposition, and Goudie reacted to that exactly as you may have imagined, but was shouted down again and again by a now furious Leach. The WRC and the Waikato Times both came in for heavy flak for having put acceptance into a resolution when it was not called for, and publishing the resulting vote - 7:2 against with 2 abstentions.

He claims that there is wide community support out there that has been expressed to him, and those that oppose simply don't understand its preliminary nature at this stage. He did admit to having been naive in the manner in which he approached the WRC. And he does not often admit fault, or mistake!

This was as far as he was prepared to go in 'backing-down,' and he challenged Goudie to move an amendment to have the entire thing thrown out, which she accepted, and then fudged when no-one else at the table appeared to want to move away from the motion. Leach had already seconded her amendment, but in typical TCDC fashion, standing orders went out the window, and the amendment was abandoned, not lost!

All in all, a total nonsense ensued with the Resolution passing unanimously - a famously lost opportunity for Goudie to put a line in the sand. She to put it mildly, was outmanoeuvred by the blustering, bullying Leach.

But it remains to be seen if Leach and EDC Chair Page will have the courage to proceed with their Wellington consultations before the Project Initiation Document has been completed, and 'approved' by Council. Somehow I suspect that that little initiative will have been put on hold, but no-one asked the  question unfortunately.

Leach was so put out by the expressed opposition to his proposal, that I think he sees the time-line slipping well behind his term of office, and it was certainly another of those legacy projects that he wanted under his belt before his departure. 

I cannot see that happening, regardless of the virtues that he claims accrue from it, if only because of the deeply troubled nature of the discussion this morning - while 'unanimous,' there were many around the table who were clearly keeping their 'powder-dry.'

Then, would you believe it, they took the agenda item concerning the Maritime Facilities Bylaw off the agenda into Public Excluded along with the Coromandel Harbour Facilities Development Budget already there - obviously a last minute decision,  and contrary to the requirements of the Meetings Act, staff provided no reason - a basic requirement.

The move to Public Excluded of this item was therefore illegal. It is all a bit of a joke really - there is no discernable reason why this should have been necessary, regardless of the absence of the 'reason,' and 'grounds' as required by the Act.

Meetings would run a great deal better, and in accordance with the two Acts if Governance Manager Angela Jane was more prepared to exercise oversight of Leach and others who run meetings. She is clearly the only one present with any level of understanding of standing orders, and legislative requirements, but she appears totally beholden to Leach and Hammond unfortunately, and unwilling to intervene. .   

 

 

 

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