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Connors Cuts Loose

You have probably seen the extraordinary advertisement which appeared on the inside back page of the HH today ‘authorised’ by Diane Connors, formerly the Chair of the Thames Community Board, who had a falling out with the Mayor and CEO of TCDC that has festered over a long period.

You can be sure that the paper’s Auckland lawyers will have pored over the content long and hard to ensure that they were well and able to defend themselves should they become involved in any defamation action brought by anyone as a result of publication..

Most of the content of the four questions that Diane puts to Ms Goudie in the advertisement have been vaguely ‘out in the open’ over the course of the last year, along with the depth of feeling between Mayor and the Chair.

The problem for Diane is that in resigning her position at the last meeting of the Board, she sacrificed her opportunity to question the relevant people in ‘open meeting.’ It has been perfectly obvious over the entire life of this Council that the principle objective of the Mayor has been to ‘keep the lid’ on dissent, and reserve any contentious matters to closed-door ‘workshops,’ and ‘end of meeting’ discussions when the pesky press (in effect, me!) have left the room.

Mayor Sandra has become the absolute expert at maintaining a veneer of peace and goodwill, even when the opposite was bubbling along just below the surface. Diane began to avoid meetings, while the grumbling proceeded in the background as our brave bunch wondered what to do next. Mayor Sandra had not faced down the National caucus in the past without acquiring some political skill.

But it is all very well to time your attack on the Mayor (and CEO) in this manner, and ‘go for the jugular’ with little opportunity remaining for reply prior to most people returning their votes. Diane is sufficiently experienced in the ways in which councils operate to know that if she in simply not prepared to take her adversaries on in ‘open meeting’ then this method of attack rather loses its effect, and appears gutless to those who will be very conscious of the timing.

Dealing with each of her complaints:

  1. Who was the “letter of concern” addressed to? - it is not at all clear, and about whom was it complaining in particular?, And given its obvious importance, why was it not raised in ‘open meeting?
  2. So Council requested a meeting – presumably with the Mayor – what happened?
  3. Now that is more like it! ‘Pay-outs’ have been a ‘bone of contention' ever since the days of Leach and Hammond, and untold amounts of our ‘brass’ has been poured into this secret method of avoiding ‘constructive dismissal’ actions. The quantitative figure would be very interesting and if not forthcoming, I will put in an OIR. Diane clearly is concerned about it.
  4. Well that is a concern, and reportedly the cause of real staff reaction inside the Castle, but what  developments? We need to be able to judge the gravity of the charge.
  5. The last time an elected member resigned may be instructive, but hardly relevant in the circumstances.

Sorry I can’t be more supportive Diane, but it seems to me that you have lost your opportunity to hold the Mayor and CEO to account, and that is a shame. I have a far longer list that I intend to process at an appropriate time post-election, particularly as the CEO's contract approaches 'review.'

What lies behind this imbroglio in my view has been Diane's utter disgust at the dismantling of the expensive 'community ermplowerment' model that was so much a part of 'Leach's Legacy' - the model of which he was inordinately proud, nut he appeared oblivious of just how ridiculous it was to servise each of the little community boards in this manner.

It was a complete anathema to Goudie and Williams, and they set about dismantling it immediately they took over by the simple process of withdrawing staff and funding. It subsequently collapsed in on itself, and has never recovered - probably just as well. This is after all a district of 26,000 residents, and it simply cannot justify or afford the duplicated facilities and services over five offices that evolved. It certainly did not fit Rob William's concept of centralised control. 

But it had fitted Diane's vision completely. It was her 'baby,' - she even 'stepped-down' as a councillor to take control at the Board, and I think she was devastated to see it 'go under.' She was certainly never going to forgive Sandra or Rob for sabotaging it. 



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Reader Comments (1)

Great to see you are doing an OIR Bill on staff pay outs but you should also consider why TCDC has avoided personal grievance claims being raised in the Employment Courts? In my and many other cases where such a claim would unravel cases of bullying and serious wrong doing at a senior level the simple solution was for the staff member via the PSA the accept a payment for the matter not to proceed and for the staff member to walk away lips zipped.

October 6, 2019 | Unregistered Commentertongue tied

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