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Diane Connors Calls It Quits, (Or Does She?)

Here is a Facebook entry from today that is interesting from a number of angles, but mainly because of what it doesn't say. Diane and Sandra have seldom been on the same page to any interested observer, and Diane has been an avid supporter of the empowerment model - impractical, contradictory, and extravagant as it was predicted to be from the outset.

"This is to notify Thames residents and ratepayers that I have resigned from my role as Thames Community Board Chair and board member, effective immediately.

I believe the environment and culture that has been allowed to develop under current leadership has eroded the Community Empowerment model and prevents me from carrying out my role- my commitment to my community. I am sorry if I have let anyone down.

Over the last 15 years we have acheived some great things together - as a community. It has been my previledge to serve you. I always said I wasn't a politician - but an elected representative. I will continue to advocate for my community in whatever means possible. I wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the years. Arohanui.

Diane Connors ex- Chair, Thames Community Board"

But there is more to this than meets the eye. I doubt if Diane considers that she would have a realistic chance at beating Sandra in the mayoralty contest - though I am sure it has crossed her mind at times.

What I do know is that she stepped down from the Council and Strat stepped up by mutual agreement - I suspect that the roles were meant to be reversed at this election, but Strat once again indicated his change of heart some time ago and that he would again stand for Council - goodness gracious  - how often has that happened over the years. His contribution has been minimal during this term, but at least he was 'on the side of the angels" when it came to the climate emergency motion.

Diane has of course performed sterling community activities - much admired by all who have come into contact with her, and it is not surprising that she has found Sandra's dictatorial, and rather reactionary attitudes 'hard to stomach.' So have a great many others who have experienced her hard knuckle politics. 

Beyond her, lies the maze that needs to be negotiated within the Castle, and the almost complete change of staff - most of whom would find the so-called community empowerment model an anachronism when centralisation has been the order of the day for so long. The Community Board has virtually disappeared from sight, and its deliberations almost irrelevant as time has gone on.

There is more to be said at some point about the unhappiness within the Castle - weekly initiation sessions are said to have become the norm by way of example. General unhappiness at all levels is seeping into the public arena, and with much finger pointing at the leadership style at the very top. These issues have a habit of seething away for some time before the top blows, and they become impossible to ignore. I will be watching with great interest as we approach the election.


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Reader Comments (2)

Strat who?
Seriously standing for community board--some months ago Strat indicated to a group of people that Community Board was to be his next elected position, then recanted that utterance less than 2 months later saying 'No am standing for Council again' and now he is going back to the Board--could the real Strat please stand up ?
Strat needs to realise that every body has a used by date--.
Thames deserves better than elected members who cannot stand up and be counted, will not give a straight answer to a simple question. My bet is he is going for Board chair so that he can attend Council meetings, thus gaining the same input into Council for less effort.
It is time the Community Board model was ditched--the 5 Boards cost almost as much as the Council to administer, some millions of dollars, around 15 million I am told. Can the Boards, bring in Community Committees - same as most Councils have , including our neighbour, Hauraki District Council. With a community committee you have the elected ward Councillors and then the community appoints a mixture of people to act on the wards behalf. This a much better dollar value then paying elected members to front up every now and again and achieve nothing in particular. Remember the much vaunted TUD report, one of Strats last efforts as chair of the Community Board, some 250k of virtually wasted collection of random ideas, such as traffic lights in Queen Street, viewing platform by the pump house and so forth. The Board is trying to resuscitate the TUD report now but it is too little too late I am afraid.
Whangamata, Whitianga [and Coromandel is next], have all had a 'makeover', but nothing for Thames, the council's biggest town, and Strat has been on Council through all those makeovers.
Thames deserves better than perennial elected members who do little and say less--hopefully there are some 'good people going to stand' but I am not holding my breath on that. If I lived Thames [not saying I am good person!] I might be tempted to throw my hat in the ring.

July 26, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScribe

Such a shame to lose great elected members such as Diane Conners. As an ex-staff member I was always impressed by her honesty and open communication with staff. Yes community empowerment has nearly been vaporised under the current leadership and one only has to look at the lack of Regulatory meetings to realise how much of this business is being actioned behind closed doors without any input from elected members. Do we even have regulation staff anymore or have they mostly left along with many other hardworking,experienced and dedicated TCDC staff.

August 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGoner

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