TCDC is at a New Level
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 11:52AM
Bill Barclay

I could quibble, but I won't, because I have just sat through one of the most (no sorry - the most) satisfactory Council meeting since my first in 2007.

I will not argue with the apparently generous salary levels (Rob Williams stated today that 90% are now at the top of their range - well up on two years ago), the remarkable fact is that for the first time in my experience, the entire capital works budget has been achieved, along with all other major targets. Rob explained that the targets had been achieved with fewer staff, but on higher salaries. He has 21 unfilled vacancies that he only fills when the need arises. My only comment would be that if he does not need them, then they should be abolished, and re-justified when required - a normal commercial approach.

It is noteworthy that councils (the CEO in effect!) create their own establishment without outside oversight, as applies in the public service where the Public Service Commissioner fulfils this role, and every department is required to justify every position at regular intervals. What all this tells us is that previous chief executives ran anything but a 'tight ship.'

Interestingly, he revealed that the Annual Report only passed the Audit by dint of some very strong argument by staff, and the Audit Consultant on the Audit Committee. I would love to know what was holding up the approval - it must have been important for that to have happened in view of the 'rubber stamp' approvals of the past.

All this information arose from the presentation of the draft Annual Report, and to some extent, the Chief Executive's meeting Report. It was noted that the new IT system hardware - installed at the weekend will enable far greater graphical information to be presented in the future.

All in all, the turnaround at our Council - achieved without fuss or fanfare, is remarkable and a credit to the effort of Rob Williams and his entire staff.

And credit must also be given to Mayor Sandra, who has provided the support from the sidelines, and now presides over a united and pretty dammed good Council, though some of its members should seriously consider standing aside in favour of better qualified (and younger!) candidates at the next election in twelve months.

After the turmoil, and personal abuse hurled in my direction during the unfortunate Leach years, I now regard my presence at these meetings as purely providing a 'watching brief,' but nevertheless important in the absence of any other media.

Other matters dealt with at today's meeting were purely procedural.




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