Received from TQoFE
Wed, 29 Apr 2015 at 1:24 p.m.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Hot air, New Zealand, People, Politics, Sport
Tagged as Accountability, Apologies don't swim, Bureaucracy, Business ethics, CEO MIA, Citifleet, Code of Conduct, Cr Lee Vandervis, DCC, Deloitte, Deloitte reports, Democracy, Dunedin, Dunedin City Council, ETHICS, Farce, Gagging, Graphic art, LGOIMA requests, Local government rorts, Natural justice, Politics, Posters, Protest, Red tape, Satire, Serious misconduct, Transparency, TRUTH (oh dear), Visual art
Not sure if this is all kosher. So I am asking the DCC further questions about the procedure at this meeting:
To DCC governance staff member:
Hi, ——-, yesterday I made a complaint about the way yesterday’s Council meeting was conducted with respect of pertinent information made available to members of the public present. My understanding is that (Senior Manager) Sandy Graham is looking into this matter.
However, I am interested in a slightly different but related matter which you may be able to advise me on.
Section 46 of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act requires meetings to be advertised. I notice that in the case of an Extraordinary Meeting, the ‘general business’ of the meeting must be notified as soon as is practicable. Now, of course, the Council Meeting on the 28th April was not an Extraordinary Meeting. But I wonder if the same principle applies for all meetings – that the general business of the meeting should be advertised within the specified time – which I think is about two days before the meeting. [But please correct me if I am wrong about the actual time frame and please let me know the relevant part of whichever law it is.] I see the general principle behind this as making it possible for members of the public to be able to figure out in time whether there is anything that the Council is deciding that interests them enough for them to want to attend and observe.
I am puzzled by the claim made in the media by Mayor Cull that prior advertising was not necessary with respect to the Resolution concerning the Code of Conduct Committee recommendations. I am pretty sure Council Standing Orders allow the Mayor to manage an Agenda Item by beginning discussion with a Resolution which he has formulated. If you can tell me where in Standing Orders this is covered I would be grateful. However, it seems to me that such a move on the Mayor’s part would be appropriate for fairly straightforward matters and come close to being ‘procedural’, in the sense of expediting the business of the meeting. It also seems that such an immediate and non-advertised proposed Resolution should be very much aligned with the advertised Agenda Item it relates to. Otherwise, there is a question as to whether the actual business carried out by the council at that meeting has been sufficiently advertised.
If I compare the recommendations of the Code of Conduct Committee in the Agenda, I see that they come under four headings. Yet the Resolution proposed by Mayor Cull comes only under two headings, the first being merely procedural: That the Council accepts the finding of the Conduct Committee.
The second heading apparently groups three of the Code of Conduct Committee’s recommendations together. So this resolution gives Cr Vandervis ONLY the option of apologising for all three charges, not just one or two of them.
On this basis, I think an argument can be made that the Resolution proposed by Mayor Cull at the meeting does NOT align sufficiently with the recommendations of the Code of Conduct Committee.
I suppose if a majority of the councillors had thought this was the case they could have voted against the Resolution. But if you take into account that they had seen the resolution only minutes before being required to vote on it, it may not have been clear to them that it would have been fairer to take this vote in three parts, to give Cr Vandervis an opportunity to apologise for one or two of all charges, instead of having the sole option of apologising for all three.
Mayor Cull’s proposed Resolution also included the following:
Further, such an apology should not:
a) Be contingent on other’s reaction to his behaviour. [ I find it difficult to understand what is intended by this.]
b) Include any attempt to downplay or explain his actions.
None of this is in the Recommendations from the Code of Conduct Committee so I think that it is really new material and should have been advertised as such.
To sum up, I think a case can be made that this Resolution did not align sufficiently with the advertised Agenda Item for it to be considered part of that Agenda Item but was in fact new material and as such should have been advertised in advance by the Council in an Agenda the required number of days in advance.
Could you treat this as an Official Information request? The information I am seeking are any relevant parts of local government legislation and Council Standing Orders which support the contention that this resolution did not need to be advertised in advance.
If you are not the right person to ask, could you please send this on?
A response from DCC staff (which I accept as correct) makes me pretty sure that procedurally the introduction and non-advertising of the Resolution passed with respect to Agenda Item 14, the Code of Conduct Committee recommendations, was all okay. So the problem is political.
I don’t believe the content of the Resolution was fair or of sufficient clarity but the responsibility for that falls on the councillors individually. I am surprised that not a single one of them suggested an Amendment that the requirement to apologise be taken separately for each charge. Or that the extreme and unreasonably punitive clause prohibiting any explanation be removed. Either gutless, stupid, apathetic or just wanted to make it impossible for Cr Vandervis to escape censure for everything (in other words, vindictive).
A sad day for democracy in Dunedin.
Mayor Cull’s refusal to allow Cr Vandervis to read the resolution and, later, the Mayor’s initial refusal to allow members of the public to see it and, later, have time to read it prior to the discussion, remains incomprehensibly and awfully undemocratic, as does his contemptuous and arrogant manner.
EX (thank god) Cr Sydney Brown was a master of the stadium and town hall resolutions on the so-called fly, and many more. Daaave probably rang Syd at the weekend, plus they have pool stuff to progress.
The trouble is the only way this sudden springing of often carefully- prepared, bamboozling resolutions can be stopped is by the other councillors being alert enough to formulate and propose amendments – and most of the time it just goes right past them. Especially with the multi -part resolutions which do not comply with the requirement for clarity. Definitely the case that a lot of the time voting takes place and immediately afterwards, many of the councillors would not be able to explain exactly what they had just voted for.
There’s all manner of hand-wringing about the number of people who don’t bother to vote in local body and general elections. Perhaps making it so they could cast their votes over a longer period, in case getting to a polling booth on that one day was too hard? No, numbers didn’t increase. So how about voting online, young people are used to doing everything online so they’d be more inclined to take part in Capital D for Democratic Process?
Ladders are placed on the board to raise the numbers engaged in electing representatives.
Then they go and put snakes on the board!
There’s nothing that will kill off engagement in Democracy, Version Cull, Key et al, like ignoring voters.
Elected representative forbidden to represent his voters?
Deciding to proceed with unwanted projects irrespective of public opinion?
Bee in bonnet about leaving a new flag as a monument to one’s reign? (This last one must be gaining urgency, with hopes of not having one’s name an enduring byword for weird ponytail fetish coupled with disrespect for women and poorly paid workers in general.)
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