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Monday
Sep252017

Upheaval At Council - Again!

"So little activity" could not have been further from the mark. My last post brought forward confirmation that Rob Williams is beginning to effect the major changes that I have signaled for some considerable time. This is definately a case of Rob putting his stamp on the place and I suggest bringing what was an 'out of control' administration to heel. And it appears that there is more to come, so just 'hang in there.'

Steve Baker has gone - he was offered a position well below that which he held as Chief Financial Officer, and has decided to head for the exit. and Leigh Robcke has also decided to take a settlement. Leigh was not Sandra's 'cup of tea,' but a straight shooter nevertheless who has led the District Plan process.

Leigh has by all accounts been replaced by Scott Summerfield - the erstwhile Greens candidate. Can't quite understand that - he is very young and inexperienced in the intracacies of the DP, but has demonstarted inate intelligence that may see him through.   I for one will be sad to see the back of Leigh - he was snapped up immediately ny Hauraki, but like Steve, he appears to have had a clash of personalities with Rob - his differences with Sandra on the other hand go back over many years. Those of us who have been around a little while know how definite are Sandra's ideas about planning in general, and the DP in particular.

Steve Bakers departure may also be related - I have previously mentioned contrary body language between those three (Steve, Leigh & Rob). Steve's style was not to everyone's liking, but I suspect that will be some substantial misgivings all round amongst councillors who have an inflated view of their own executive and managerial capabilities, and who appeared in awe of Steve. Hence Rob's deliberate moves. I will be very interested to see just who Rob puts in this important position, and the degree to which the treatment of borrowing and depreciation in particular alters the way in which the Council's accounts are presented. 

I am a traditionalist and have have been unimpressed in the past without being able to nail down specifics in this regard, and I was not alone. I just cannot imagine that Rob undertook this move without having his own concerns, and perhaps there may have some adverse audit findings in the background - we will never know.

Expect other changes to be become clear as the result of the abolishing/creation of 50 odd positions as reported earlier. This is classic repositioning being undertaken by Rob Williams. He will end up with the structure he feels is necessary, and that will bear little resemblance to the Leach/Hammond model.

One area I have already indicated will in for major change is that of area management - a number of positions are for the chop, with more to come. It appears that Whangamata and Thames have been combined under Gary Towler, and Coromandel may well now end up as part of the Whitianga set-up. These changes indicate real desire to centralise, and finally eliminate the ridiculous structure that Leach/Hammond put in place but which was completely out of keeping with the District population, and revenue stream.

I could see Rob 'champing at the bit' with this structure right from the outset of his tenure, but again, because of the Leach/Hammond smugness over their beloved decentralised structure, he just needed to bide his time.  My understanding is that there is a degree of unhappiness at the changes , but that is to be expected as many people have benefitted from splendid sinecures that are now under threat.

This Council has to get its costs under control - Rob Williams is just the man for the job, and frankly I don't care how many toes he steps on to achieve it. 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

The Peninsula heritage community was well-served by Leigh, whose exertions on their behalf - in the background - were welcomed by many.
His balanced chairmanship of community meetings and heritage forums encouraged individual contributions at, and after meetings, and, it seems to me, people felt valued and their opinions respected.
Heritage had a 'friend in court' so-to-speak.
Go well Leigh. Make a difference in Hauraki.

September 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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