DCC tightens policy + Auditor-general’s facetious comments

The city council’s Whistleblower policy, originally written by Athol Stephens (!!), has recently been updated.

The proposed change came as independent financial consultant Deloitte continued its investigation into an alleged $1 million fraud within the Dunedin City Council’s Citifleet department. (ODT)

### ODT Online Wed, 6 Aug 2014
Council aims to tighten policies
By Chris Morris
The Dunedin City Council is moving to make it easier for whistle-blowers to speak out, but still has “a fair bit of work to do” to tighten other internal policies, senior managers say. The proposed change came as the council’s audit and risk subcommittee, meeting yesterday for just the second time, considered a schedule of 12 internal council policies it was now responsible for overseeing. The policies, ranging from risk management to staff travel and fraud prevention, were designed to promote good governance while protecting the organisation and its staff.
Read more

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Universally detested (except by a charming coterie of Wellington’s public servants, all living high off the pig’s back), Lyn Provost represents a fat salary-dollar value only. Fully complicit or was that comfortably incompetent, in not getting MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR RORTS and FRAUD stopped across the local authorities of New Zealand. She and her well-paid ‘academic’ staff ask: “Whatever is Crime?” —OHH! “New Zealand’s public sector boasted $240 billion worth of assets and managing them required continuous attention, she said.” (via ODT) …..What attention, steamed up spectacles??!!

Lyn Provost [liberation.typepad.com] 1 BWBugger off, Lyn [Photo: liberation.typepad.com]

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### ODT Online Wed, 6 Aug 2014
Praise for DCC’s new internal controls
By Chris Morris
The Dunedin City Council’s move to tighten internal controls has been praised by the Office of the Auditor-general, even as the investigation into an alleged $1 million Citifleet fraud continues. The words of encouragement came from Auditor-general Lyn Provost as she addressed a meeting of the council’s new audit and risk subcommittee during a visit to Dunedin yesterday. But, despite the headlines and unanswered questions about why the alleged fraud was not detected, including by auditors, the word “Citifleet” was not uttered yesterday.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

58 Comments

Filed under Business, Carisbrook, Citifleet, Construction, CST, Cycle network, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, DVL, DVML, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Media, Museums, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, NZTA, ORFU, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Queenstown Lakes, SDHB, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

58 responses to “DCC tightens policy + Auditor-general’s facetious comments

  1. Elizabeth

    “We’ve lost sight of the state sector’s function to protect the citizenry from the excesses of executive power and deliver effective services with commitment, principal and innovation.” –Maryan Street

    ### NZ Herald Online 2:55 PM Wednesday Aug 6, 2014
    Labour warns of ‘creeping corruption’ in public sector
    By Adam Bennett
    Labour says it would run a Royal Commission into the public sector to address issues such as bullying of civil servants by ministers and to combat the threat of “creeping corruption”, state services spokeswoman Maryan Street says. Speaking to the Institute of Public Administration in Wellington today Ms Street said the public service had lost much of its protections against corruption in recent years. The public sector had “lost the courage required of a neutral professional public service” which could combat “creeping corruption”. She attributed that to “misuse of ministerial power”, directing criticism at former ACC Minister and current Conservation Minister Nick Smith and Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee.
    Read more

    ● Adam Bennett is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

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    ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 14:46 06/08/2014
    Labour to ‘rebuild’ public service
    By Stacey Kirk
    Labour says it will increase the number of public servants and cut back on contractors in the sector. It will also fund a royal commission into the state sector and review the legislation that governs government departments. […] “Labour will rebuild core capacity in the public service so it can do the quality job it needs to,” she said. “The National government has gutted the state sector. The so-called ‘cap’ on core public servants announced in 2008 quickly became a sinking lid. After years of spending millions on expensive consultants and hiring back redundant staff on pricey contracts, the Government has recently attempted to reverse some of the damage it caused.”
    Read more

  2. Martin Legge

    My experience as a whistle blower exposing the gambling industry has taught me that the Office of the Auditor General are a complete joke and I would not bother with them again.

    NZ should be very concerned about what they fail to find but also what they gloss over when they do find something!!

  3. Elizabeth

    Quite, Martin. Do not report Rugby!

    Locally: There was OAG’s investigation of Delta (an absolute croc), before that there was utter hopelessness to gain investigation of the sale of Carisbrook. And what of the stadium (gloves are on – thanks to the PM and Ministers).

    OAG and the AG (Provost) are a standing joke.

  4. Phil

    Citifleet investigation report is due for publication. The so called “well known Dunedin family” reference, as reported in the latest press release, is reportedly referring to a long standing familiarity with the local constabulary, with links to the hot rod club and (curiously enough) a local community board.

  5. Phil

    Elizabeth, I probably should have used the word last instead of latest. Didn’t mean to imply that there had been a new official press release since the one from a month + back. My apologies. The ODT will get there in the end. Like they did with their recent story about the Dunedin man who was worried about the supply of Legal High drugs. For example.

  6. Elizabeth

    Thanks Phil. Thought I was losing it – nevertheless, agree the Citifleet investigation must dish up something soon!

  7. Phil

    Well there’s an interesting development. In 2006, former DCC Group Manager, Grant Strang, buys a 1996 Hyundai Sonata for $2,500 from City Fleet. Hands a “Non Negotiable” stamped cheque to DCC Finance Department for said amount, and receives a receipt.

    I have a couple problems with this story. In 2006 I was also working at the DCC. I was employed in a managerial role in the Civic Centre building although, to be fair, not at the level that Grant Strang was employed. But enough to see a few things. In 2006, Grant Strang ordered a $5,000 office chair for his room. I know this because I was shown the receipt by the 2 staff members who took delivery of the chair. I even took a spin in it. If you see a $5,000 office chair, you simply have to know what it feels like. Feels pretty good, I have to say. Anyway, the same man who thought he deserved a $5,000 chair, thought it was a good idea to buy a 10 year old Hyundai. Not knocking Hyundais, but sound like the same person ? We’ll get back to that.

    As I said, I worked in the Civic Centre building in 2006. In the course of my duties, I had cause to be in the City Fleet garage about 4 times a week. For a few years either side of 2006. Most often I was there to make use of a City Fleet vehicle. Pretty uneventful stuff like going grocery shopping, taking the dog to the vet, picking up kids from school. Typical car pool activities. But one observation from that time bugged me today. Bugged me enough to contact a few of my former DCC colleagues. We all came to the same conclusion. In all our trips out in City Fleet vehicles, over all our years combined, not one of us could recall ever driving a fleet vehicle that was 10 years old. We struggled, in fact, to think of an instance when we drove a fleet vehicle that was more than 5 years old. How many companies find it economical to have 10 year old cars in their fleets ? Especially a company with the discount buying power like DCC. Sure, we had driven Hyundais, but they were all new models. We could only come up with one Sonata during that period and that was a car which, for some weird reason, was especially reserved for use only by one Rodney Bryant. We won’t get into that one.

    The cheque. First up, how many people write cheques in this age of electronic bank transfers ? To the same company that you work for. In the same building. Grant Strang’s office was on the second floor of the Civic Centre building in 2006. Finance lived on the third floor. According to Grant Strang, he walked up one flight of stairs and delivered them a cheque for $2,500. He was so worried about the 15 metre internal journey, and so mistrusting of the staff in the Finance Department of the same company in which he was a senior manager, that he felt the need to cross the cheque as Non Negotiable. Seriously ? I worked probably 50m away from Finance and I knew them all by first name.

    Now, I have no doubt that Grant Strang wrote a cheque for $2,500 and gave it to DCC Finance Department. And I have no doubt that he received a receipt for that $2,500 as the payment for a 1996 Hyundai Sonata. I’m sure that the financial paperwork is very clean and deliberate. My question is, what car did he drive away in that day ?

    {Link: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/312126/cars-staff-and-councillor -Eds}

  8. Question: Has Phil or any other of his contemporaries of his time at the DCC been interviewed by the Deloitte folk conducting the inquiry? If not, why not?

  9. Elizabeth

    The service history receipts for Maurice Prendergast’s utility show up anomalies – at least one of the local businesses servicing Citifleet vehicles was creaming it. Kickback City.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      The cars had to be sold. According to Phil, there were no 10 year old cars. For the sake of the books cars had to be sold, money received and visible in the accounts.
      Without an investigation one car “on paper” is the same as another.

      Just for the sake of being amazingly hypothetical – what if one were to trade a 5-yr-old car for a 10 yr-old car of the same make, plus money? One could quietly trouser the cash, sell the 10-yr-old car, do the paperwork and everything would be cushty. Not kosher but very very cushy.

      I wonder whether the investigation will go into details like the engine number of Maurice Prendergast’s vehicle and see if it matches with … anything else.

  10. Elizabeth

    Why on earth would ODT ask ex councillor and defrocked lawyer Michael Guest for his opinion ? Old acquaintance [ne’er] be forgot ? Or the only scoundrel willing to blab for some free advertising !?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Willing to blab, possibly still smarting from less than chummy attitude towards his character and activities by Prendergast?

    • Mike

      Yeah my thoughts exactly, I guess it must be because they must consider him a paragon of virtue, honesty and integrity and thus able to comment without bias on his past political rivals.

      Then again he might be the councillor who voted to build the stadium at the same time that he owed the head of the Highlanders parts of his house (no no conflict of interest there ….), or he might be the lawyer practising law online while barred, or ….

      I see that the ODT has banned comment on that article, no doubt they’re scared people might point out the elephant in their room.

      • Elizabeth

        Intriguing Mike – the rage of citizens will be seen elsewhere in the world wide web, but not at ODT ~!!! Amen.

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    “Anyway, the same man who thought he deserved a $5,000 chair, thought it was a good idea to buy a 10 year old Hyundai… sound like the same person ? ”
    Bear in mind that one purchase was definitely out of the ratepayer’s pocket, the other … out of personal bank account. Entitlement to the best when it’s paid for by someone else, if you get my drift.
    Disclaimer: This is an observation on the behaviour of a class of humans, not intended to be an uncritical belief in that particular narrative presented as a full and frank account of that particular transaction.

    • Peter.

      Good point, Hype. Always easier to spend public money.
      I still pay by cheque and write non negotiable on it. That is what you should do.
      I note the cars of said people are still owned by them. This does not suggest playing fast and loose with cars. A fair number of blokes change cars probably more than their underpants!

      • Hype O'Thermia

        I’m with you on that, Peter. I’d be very surprised if those 2 men were involved in fraud over their purchases of the DCC cars.
        Since they still have those cars it should be possible to check precisely what cars were / weren’t in the DCC fleet. Number plates can be switched, other identifiers not so much.

  12. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 9 Aug 2014
    ORC confident of sale processes
    By Vaughan Elder
    Robust policies at the Otago Regional Council mean it can be confident fraud involving the sale of assets is not occurring. Chief executive Peter Bodeker told this week’s ORC meeting its policy on ”capital expenditure and asset disposal” was sound after he was asked to review it by chairman Stephen Woodhead.
    Read more

  13. Rob Hamlin

    Am I alone in being slack jawed at today’s story in McPravda?

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/312126/cars-staff-and-councillor

    In it Maurice Prendergast is named along with Grant Strang as a purchaser of an ex DCC vehicle (None of the other multiple DCC staff buyers are). Mr Prendergast apparently paid $2,500 for a ute six years ago with 300,000+ km on the clock – which seems about right to me if not a bit high. I paid around $1,500 for a nice Telstar wagon out of Turners with 220,000 km at about the same time.

    McP then apparently went circa 300 further km’s to find an individual with the appropriate moral authority to comment on a transaction so remarkable that it merited front page coverage on McP. They finally found the appropriate fella, one “Former Councillor Michael Guest” who apparently “served alongside Cr Prendergast from 2004-07”. Mr Guest was apparently shocked because: “He had heard nothing of the in-house sales until news of Deloitte’s investigation broke in June.” It looks as if Mr Guest might have been absolutely reeling at the revelation because he: “said any in-house sales would be a “dreadful” look” apparently because “I’m sure any of my fellow councillors … if they had known that there was some staff purchase plan, albeit informal, I think we would have stopped it, because of the political fallout.”

    Comments on this article are disabled on McP’s website. This seems a pity because I am sure that there are citizens within the community who might have so much that is pertinent to add to this apparently major story and McP’s treatment of it.

    • Elizabeth

      The vehicle treats were well known about at DCC for over ten years. The previous Citifleet manager, ie prior to the deceased Bachop, was fondly known as ‘Arthur Daley’. How many cars from ‘the scheme’ did our splendiferous lawmaker at Wanaka actually buy? (given he pleads poisoned innocence now) Perhaps he couldn’t afford any.

      Although comments are disabled at the ODT Online story – this doesn’t stop comments being sent straight to the editor – email address: editor @ odt.co.nz

      • Elizabeth

        OLD NEWS (yawn)
        Arthur Daley/Bob Heath has been mentioned at What if? four times recently – the above is the first of these. The council has known about Arthur for a Very Long Time – if Mr Chin confesses knowledge, as at ODT this morning, then so did former chief executive Jim Harland. Athol Stephens ‘affectionately’ referred to Arthur Daley in council meetings.

        Citifleet case goes further
        The Dunedin City Council’s alleged Citifleet fraud may go “considerably further back” than first thought, and more cars – and more missing money – are likely to be involved, it has been confirmed. […] Bob Heath joined the council in 1979 as then-mayor Sir Clifford Skeggs’ chauffeur, and rose through the ranks to became Citifleet manager in 1992. He continued in that role until late 2003, when he resigned, and died early the following year, aged 59.
        http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/314762/citifleet-case-goes-further

        Other stories at ODT today:
        Rising investigation cost justified, CEO says
        DCC manager bought vehicle from Citifleet

        So what we have here are staged news releases. What more follows.

  14. Anonymous

    I’m wondering WTF Deloitte is doing the investigation and not the Serious Fraud Office.

    • Elizabeth

      As the story goes [from DCC] NZ Police were too busy and asked DCC to get some evidence together. I guess DCC would do the same if someone took one extra cream bun off a tea plate for councillors.

  15. Peter.

    One of Bev’s media contacts used to love contacting Guesty because he was always quotable. Good copy.
    It certainly wasn’t an innocent approach to a former fellow councillor.
    Guesty would have loved the attention and having an opportunity to look highly ethical.

    • Mike

      It did just dawn on me that maybe Guest was the only living ex-councillor who hadn’t bought one of the cars – I can’t think of any other reason why they would contact him for a quote.

  16. Night rider

    It is a coincidence that in the same week as former Councillor Prendergast, in a letter to the editor, takes Cr Kate Wilson apart for untruths over her involvement in trying to stop the stadium. That it is leaked to the ODT Prendergast’s purchase of an old clapped out (300,000 km) vehicle from the DCC.

  17. Whippet

    “The ODT confirmed about 25 past and present council staff were amongst the buyers.”
    Why has Chris Morris only targeted and named 2 of the 25. It would appear that someone is trying to make these 2 guilty by association, and the ODT appears to be going along with it.
    It smells somewhat.

  18. Anonymous

    Remember that the Auditor-General’s Office gave DCC a clean bill of health.

  19. Russell Garbutt

    There are three related stories here.

    1 The ODT “update” on what has already been described by CEO Bidrose as a fraud investigation.

    2 The fraud itself – or at least the alleged fraud.

    3 The role of internal and external auditors.

    1. The ODT chose to pick a few individuals who, by inference in the story, are connected to the fraud in that they purchased motor vehicles from the DCC. This action, by itself, cannot be considered in any way fraudulent. If the DCC has a process to dispose of surplus vehicles, or computers, or buildings or any other capital item which is open, transparent, and open to scrutiny, then anyone including employees or Councillors should be able to purchase such vehicles or other capex items. But each such purchase must be able to be supported by appropriate auditable documentation.

    But that system could be open to accusations of prospective purchasers that are “in the know” or are in a privileged position to have some unfair advantage over any other prospective buyer. That would be overcome if no private purchases were able to be made other than through a 100% auction process.

    But the ODT chose, for whatever reason, to name two such buyers of cars. It is hard to see just why they chose to do this when it is clear from published accounts of the fraud that well over 100 vehicles were involved in the fraud. Why not name the other 130 or so purchasers?

    Then they asked a man who has been convicted of dishonest activities and has been publicly disgraced on many occasions to comment on the fraud. Why? Because he was a past Councillor? Why not ask any other slung-out has-been like Paul Hudson?

    This smacks to me of some other reason to run this story in this way at this time.

    2. It is incredible to me that the NZ Police, if faced with an apparent fraud of over a million dollars and the suspected suicide of a person at the centre of the investigation should tell the DCC that it is too busy to deal with it and suggest to the DCC that they gather evidence. Now I happen to know that the NZ Police has a very poor record of reacting to fraud complaints in a timely fashion, but we are paying for their ability to investigate crime and Dunedin ratepayers should not have to pay a private accountancy firm to gather evidence.

    How this fraud, or alleged fraud, was carried out is, I’m sure, well known to the current Managers at the DCC. In my view, the process should have been that the DCC Managers should have immediately gone to the Police and the Police should be employing the accountants to come up with the additional evidence that meets the requirements of a Police prosecution. Or are we being told in a roundabout way that because the alleged offender is dead then, like Detective Hutton in the Thomas/Crewe, there is no point in prosecuting a dead man?

    3. As for controls and audit? How in the hell did someone get away with this for so long is the first question that needs to be answered and secondly, just what were the immediate past Financial and General Managers at the DCC doing? And if there was incompetence at that level, then where was the OAG and Audit NZ? Hiding behind the nearest dictionary making sure that the right font was used on any official documentation. The OAG, as we all know, are nothing other than an expensive and stupid joke.

    • Elizabeth

      Russell, now is not the time to surrender your CCTV footage of my long lost uncle stealing chocolate bars, while rolling drunk, from our local dairy because the police would be straight onto it. Never you fear, and to the district court with him.

    • Peter.

      Blame it all on the dead guy. Saves a lot of hassle from litigious crooks. I hope this does not happen in the Age of No Accountability.

  20. Elizabeth

    Thoughts towards the cost of an independent forensic audit of ‘greater DCC’, much more expensive….

    ### RNZ News Updated at 2:46 pm today
    Taxpayers foot ditched council review
    A Government-ordered review into an audit of the Christchurch City Council’s finances has cost the taxpayer up to $70,000. In May this year, a report carried out by financial consultants KordaMentha revealed that the council was about $500 million short of its funding commitments to repair the earthquake-hit city’s damaged roads, water and wastewater networks. Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the Crown had concerns about some of the assumptions made in the KordaMentha report and the accuracy of some of the data. Mr Brownlee ordered another firm, Morrison Low, to review the KordaMentha report. Figures released under the Official Information Act show the work took about a month and cost between $60,000 and $70,000. Mr Brownlee cancelled the Morrison Low review before its findings were released.
    RNZ Link

  21. Elizabeth

    Site Admin.

    While the Coroner is investigating a suspected suicide, the provisions of the Coroners Act apply.

    As previously stated in Comments at another thread, there is a caution in place regarding the Coroner’s investigation into the circumstances of the former Citifleet manager’s death. The owner of this website and persons making adverse and unwise comment(s) here may find themselves up for prosecution under the Coroners Act.

    Good reading: http://publicaddress.net/legalbeagle/suicide-reporting-or-the-system-doesnt-work/

    Comments:
    https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/dcc-unit-under-investigation/#comment-51108
    https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/dcc-unit-under-investigation/#comment-51116

  22. Phil

    Am still struggling to make some sense out of the 10 year old car scheme. If both Maurice and Grant bought 10 year old cars from the DCC in 2006, then where were those cars between 1996 and 2006 ? They could well have been bought by DCC in 1996, but were they then unofficially “sold” some time later, before being “bought” back into the fold for an official sale in 2006 ? They must have been parked somewhere for 10 years and I’m pretty certain that it wasn’t in a Citifleet parking space.

    • Elizabeth

      Have you swapped notes with Sue Bidrose, Chief Executive?

    • For legal reasons and propriety the following comment has been moderated and abridged by the Site Administrators.

      I have intentionally not commented for reasons of being aligned to the Shakesperian adage that “me thinks he protesteth too much” but there has been so much misguided comment that I feel bound to now comment.

      The 1996 Mitsubishi ute that I bought was productively engaged as the dedicated vehicle to the Water Department. It was driven (as I recall) for the whole of its life by the one Water Department staff member who I shall not name simply because I have not asked his authority.

      So I believe this conspiratorial question is being asked by the same Phil who earlier claimed to have worked @ DCC and to be familiar with the Citifleet garage. If this is so and that vehicle has been variously described as having travelled between 250-300,000 km (to be honest I think it was in vicinity of 280,000 km when I purchased), what a fool question to ask ‘what was this vehicle doing for 10 years’.

      Between 1996 and 2006 it was clearly running up upwards of 280,000 km as a Water Dept utility. Around 28,000 km annually means it was not standing still (except when Council was being ripped off in the service workshop – now defunct).

      I secured lifetime receipts for that vehicle from that workshop and the charges did not make pretty reading. FYI – just for the benefit of the conspiracy theorists, that vehicle had had its motor cooked when I bought it, and to those who think I paid too much for a vehicle in that state, that is entirely my business, but I had a specific need for a ute with a bench seat […] and it was cheaper to take a punt on the motor than it was to modify bucket seats. But I digress.

      Now that I’ve picked the scab, I might as well put a few innuendos to bed that ODT have generated.

      If Phil was indeed a staff member at DCC he will know that a ‘gossip sheet’ with the unlikely title the Every Daily was circulated (mostly) daily to all who cared to read it and it was also a medium for all (staff, elected members and council departments) to advertise for sale all manner of surplus goods, from prams and bikes to surplus office furniture and motor vehicles.

      A critical discipline in relation to the sale of surplus motor vehicles (that commentators including ODT conveniently choose to ignore) was the total transparency of the transactions.

      It was made clear and on record that no vehicle was for sale that had not been deemed surplus and referred to the auction room. The auctioneer company had inspected each vehicle, faithfully reported its condition (good and bad) and offered a pre-auction valuation.

      Citifleet offered the opportunity (at least internally) to know that the vehicles were surplus and being presented for auction, but anyone who had a need would be allowed on an ‘as is where is’ basis to purchase based on pre-auction valuation (identical to the ‘Buy Now’ concept of Trade Me), or take a chance on ‘toughing it out’ at auction.

      It was a level playing field and anyone (staff/elected members included) who were not aware of the sale of surplus stock, simply were not reading the material available to them […].

      But my final plaudits are for an individual […] journalist at ODT […] [who] set out to write an espoused headline news item about fraud at City Hall. It is my view that his article was nothing more than an exercise in self adulation […]. It doesn’t matter it seems that in the course of interviewing his navel he sullies my name where, in relation to an alleged fraud investigation, the best instance of human behaviour that a journalist can align with fraud is to quote two instances of legitimate and unsullied sale/purchase transaction.

      Sorry, but where’s the fraud that’s referred to in the headlines. Hard to find a more spectacular ‘own goal’ eh?

      INNUENDO (noun) the shabby practice of betraying the truth by subtle association with unrelated events.

      I respectfully rest my case.

  23. Phil

    I did finally get contacted by Deloitte people a few days back, Elizabeth. General feeling that I took away was that I was merely confirming earlier statements from others. They were quite professional in their conduct, I have to say.

    • Elizabeth

      Pleased to hear Phil. Others are saying similar of Deloitte on this investigation.

      Your question re the 10 year old cars is a good one, maybe this is where there’s overlap with doings outside council. Pleased you raised a query re Rodney’s car.

  24. Phil

    Hi Maurice. I did intend to leave your vehicle out of discussions as we had already come to the possibility that the L200 was a Water Department vehicle stationed at Midland Street. Thanks for confirming that. The Sonata is another matter. Your comment about Every Daily announcements is quite correct, I’m not sure what your beef with that is. In fact, that highlights the very core of the current problem. As reported in the ODT, a number of other staff members have also purchased vehicles via in-house media (kbase being the other internal listing site), on a sealed tender basis. Those whom I was personally aware of (and there were 3 or 4 others) I have referred Deloitte to. So you are certainly not alone, although you were arguably the most newsworthy person involved. Unfortunately for you. One of the prime issues which has been exposed here is that people in privileged positions have been able to take advantage of publicly funded purchases in a way that the rest of the local population have been denied. Exactly as you describe. The copies of Every Daily that you refer to were not available for all ratepayers to read and make use of. Only DCC staff and elected officials had access to that information, as well you knew. While your purchase may not have been illegal, you were knowingly in a position to purchase something that not everyone else was able to purchase. So it is most definitely not a level playing field when you factor in the ratepayers of Dunedin City. That’s the problem and that is what is being addressed by Deloitte in their investigation. Not just the Citifleet mess, but with other DCC practices. The proposed central contracts database is another example of tidying up the potential for privileged trading. Insider dealings are one thing when dealing with private practice but the same loose rules do not apply the moment that public money comes into play. To imply that it was OK because other people were doing it is to accept the Lance Armstrong doping defence. Wrong is wrong. As for the question surrounding my history with DCC, again I am not sure what your concerns are. I originally worked for the former City Consultants for a number of years and then for a second department for about the same number of years ago. In total about 12 years with DCC. A number of people on this forum site know who I am. Hopefully that helps you.

    • I won’t even attempt to respond to someone else’s paranoid views. I don’t know who Phil is but it would seem that he/she may have career prospects as a preacher where he could (inter alia) quote those Gospel extracts like “let he who has not sinned cast the first stone those”. It would seem that on the basis of Phil’s moral argument he/she would not pick up a $20 note that blows past him/her on the street; on the noble principle that not everybody on the street could see it drifting by. I at least pride myself as having the courage to write under my own name. That’s a practice that Phil might like to embrace – it helps win the respect of those who read your script. As you patronisingly said in your conclusion, “Hopefully that helps you.”

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    Re Mr Prendergast’s vehicle purchase: “While your purchase may not have been illegal, you were knowingly in a position to purchase something that not everyone else was able to purchase.” The interesting factor in that particular purchase is that the price he paid was unlikely to have been advantageous (to him). But a particular feature, in this case bench seat, that is not very common is either immaterial, in which case auction price won’t be affected, or desired by 2 or more hopeful purchasers. If the latter it can drive the price up well beyond what the overall condition of the vehicle is worth. This is why I think public auction Trademe or other, is the right way to dispose of surplus council property.

  26. Interesting the two commentaries from the two folk who are/were on the inside. It strikes me that the whole inquiry is in effect ‘sub judice’ until the Deloitte report (or parts thereof) is out in the public arena, it is unwise to prejudge others actions or intentions. Only causes undue angst.

    • Peter.

      Calvin. Your comment raises the question who leaked this part of the results of the inquiry’s investigation before it is all out? Morris wouldn’t have been able to get this information himself.
      Is this legal? Something is smelly here.

  27. Sally

    Bench seats verses bucket seats. What is it you can do on a bench seat that you cannot do in a bucket seat. The mind boggles.

  28. Phil

    The sidestep reply isn’t unexpected. I’m not going to draw out the ethical debate any longer as clearly that boundary lies in different places for different people. What has been written in response says enough, I think. What I took from my discussions with the investigation team was that they are not on a hunt after those from within DCC or Council who have purchased vehicles. What those people (such as Maurice and Grant S) have done is to illustrate that there was/is a problem in our particular local government system which allows for certain people to gain an advantage over other people. The value of that advantage is immaterial. $2,000 is the same as $20,000. The comment that stuck with me is that those people knew, or should have known, that they were gaining an advantage. Twist it anyway you like, you can’t escape it. That’s the flaw in the system, and that is what is likely to be recommended in the report to be corrected.

    I will say to people here, as I have said to the investigation team (and this possibly relates to Maurice’s smokescreen $20 fable), that I, as a DCC employee, took advantage of my postion to gain a service from the DCC which I knew would likely not have been offered to everyone else. For personal gain. I knew I would receive that service based entirely on who I was and where I worked. I did this knowlingly, and it was wrong. I have disclosed full details to the investigation team as it further strengthens their belief of inappropriate insider dealings within a public organisation. So there you go, Maurice, we’re both as guilty as each other.

    Maurice is quite right with his comment about me not using my own full name on this forum. Although the name I use is not far away. I have a number of reasons for doing this, which I have previously explained to a couple of posters here. During my time at DCC I saw a few things which I probably wasn’t supposed to see. Releasing some of that information (usually here, never to the ODT) at various times helps to keep those involved constantly on their toes. I call it my civic duty. As they are not 100% certain exactly who I am, they are not 100% certain exactly how much I know. That uncertainty makes it difficult for those people to cover their tracks. I understand that the search engine on this site has previously been used to search on my full contact information, which suggests that there is at least one slightly worried person out there. And so they should be. Anyway, rightly or wrongly, that’s the rationale behind my decision and I am unlikely to be bullied into changing my stance. Whether certain people choose to respect me ot not, doesn’t alter what I know and how I choose to express it. I have built a good life for myself away from DCC so I have nothing to personally lose or gain from all of this.

    Speaking of contact information, Elizabeth you have likely picked up the change in my email address. Just for future refererence.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Phil. Your earlier independent comment, I thought, was reasonably consistent with sentiments expressed by others over the years at this site, with regards to concerns over the use of ratepayer/public funding by local authorities.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Phil, I may never know your “real” name and I don’t care. I probably have not met you in person. So the only way I can judge your worth is by what you present here. Are your arguments sound? Is your information corroborated by other sources? Knowing your name would not make me trust you more, or less. Online, we live by the quality of our contributions. Any disadvantage in not knowing someone’s real-life identity is in my opinion balanced by losing prejudice. Anyone can say they are an expert, but if they write foolishly, they are just foolish contributors, nobody is going to bow down before their claimed superiority.
      Besides in a tiny town there are sensitivities and grudges. At the time when we were trying so hard to prevent that monumental error of judgement the Fubar Stadium, there were people in business, particularly tradesmen I came across, who agreed that it was a stupid idea but would not ally themselves with the “naysayers” because of the number of True Believers who were likely to choose not to put contracts their way if they opposed the temple of the god of rugby.

      • Peter.

        I think most contributors on this site, whether anonymous or not, try to stick to the facts. Sometimes we get angry and become sarcastic about others who have been liars or just fools. I cannot remember anyone who seems to have spread malicious rumours as we are conscious of not getting Elizabeth as the owner of the site into trouble.
        This blog site is useful, as Phil says, in getting information out there when we have such a hopeless, if not complicit, local paper. Even the ODT looks at this website for tips. Though studiously ignores hot stuff that goes against their mates.

  29. Phil

    Deloitte report is due to be released tomorrow. A slight delay at the request of the police which also means that the initial report is likely to appear slightly vague, pending any prosecutions. Initial findings are likely to show that the commencement of the City Fleet “activities” pre-date the current players.

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