DCC: Know your council ‘chair-leaders’ #pillowtalk

It’s with some fascination if not repulsion that Whatiffers can observe bullying by standing committee chairmen continuing unabated on the mayor’s watch.

Cr Thomson’s historical on camera stunts of addressing or referring to Cr Vandervis as “my good friend” are, how shall I say, unchaste and deceptive in the context of what follows below.

Cat Whisperer by Goodwyn [www.toonpool.com] tweaked 1

Two emails received tonight.

Received from Lee Vandervis
Wed, 16 Sep 2015 at 9:26 p.m.

█ Message: Differing Councillor views that may be of interest.
Cheers, Lee

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2015 22:41:19 +1200
To: Richard Thomson, Grace Ockwell, Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham
Cc: Dave Cull, Kate Wilson, Chris Staynes, Jinty MacTavish, David Benson-Pope, Hilary Calvert, Aaron Hawkins, Mike Lord, Andrew Whiley, John Bezett, Doug Hall, Neville Peat, Andrew Noone, Ruth Stokes
Conversation: OIA Request
Subject: Re: OIA Request

Actually Richard, the Lamborghini has become symbolic of many other very visible excesses, but let us stick to Council issues.

For many years I used to make all the information I had available in very candid discussions with staff, who often then failed to investigate appropriately. Citifleet is a prime example, and this and other examples has taught me that a publicly funded organisation is poorly motivated to investigate itself.
Without my LGOIMA requests the incredibly belated Citifleet ‘investigation’ might never have happened, as it did not happen for over a decade before. Have you counted the cost of that multimillion dollar fraud as a percentage of the cost of processing my LGOIMA requests?
Do you not realise that most of my LGOIMA request arise from questions and allegations from members of the public that I represent?

Even when an internal investigation does prove that for instance over quarter of a million of public funds was paid to a contractor to clear mudtanks and none were cleared, nothing appropriate seems to happen at the DCC without publicity. Hence my now having to get the public involved when things are not sorted internally.
When you claim that needing information “of how the information relates to possible wrong doing” is necessary to get information, this is absurd. It is much easier to simply search ‘Stihl chainsaws’ and forward what DCC files information appears. Similarly a vehicle registration number. Just search the registration number and forward the files – easy, quick, no thinking required, little time wasted considering whether ‘particular staff have been involved in possible wrong doing’ etc.

Why is it that our staff can have all this information, but not want to share it with us the supposed decision makers when we request it?
Answer – information is power – and bureaucracies generally do not want to share it, especially with supposed decision makers.

Don’t you dare suggest that I do not give a toss, as you have no way of knowing the state of my mind or the work that I do, and don’t you dare suggest that my approach has failed to identify fraudulent behaviour, as you similarly do not know what has gone into, for instance, Citifleet, Jacks Point/Luggate, mudtanks, Noble, Town Hall redevelopment, or the almost complete turnover of senior managers at the DCC in the last few years.

I will continue to carry on in the manner I believe to be appropriate, and I do not seek any advice on my manner from of you.

Regards,
Cr. Vandervis

———————————

On 15/09/15 9:48 pm, “Richard Thomson” wrote:

Actually Lee my concern is quite the opposite. If there is fraud taking place I want to see it caught. That is why in the Otago DHB when someone came to me with an anonymous tip off and no evidence to back it I initiated a full investigation within half an hour. And I know what some of the consequences are of taking action. They include having to have endless questioning of your integrity/intelligence/ etc by people such as yourself and your fellow travellers on the likes of What If. You have no idea how terribly amusing it is to regularly be accused, because you did the right thing, of “failing to notice the Lamborghini in the carpark”. Never mind that I never had a carpark so didn’t go in the carpark building, or that the fabled Lamborgini was only owned for a few days. Or indeed, had I gone in the carpark building for a random look around and spotted a Lamborghini I would probably have assumed it belonged to a surgeon anyway. So bearing that personal history in mind here is what really pisses me off.

When you make accusations but when virtually begged to make the information available to the CEO so it can be investigated you respond that the “only way you will be making the information available will be through the pages of the ODT”. As you did at the Audit Committee meeting.

When you put in OIA requests and refuse to give any indication of how the information relates to possible wrong doing. Lets think chain saws here. So in the end the only way the OIA can be responded to is to make general inquiries all over the place thereby pretty much ensuring that if there has been dishonesty the person involved will have plenty of time to bury any evidence.

When you seek “all documentation” about a motor vehicle without giving a toss whether the inquiries around that might harm any investigation if there has been wrong doing because the people responding to the request will have no idea if they are going to tip off unknowingly a suspect.

It ought to be of some concern to you by now that your methods and approach have failed to catch any fraudulent behaviour but that the methods of Mr McKenzie that you so disparage have caught a number. Perhaps the fact that people do come to you with info might actually result in people being caught if you worked with people instead of carrying on in the manner you do.

R

[contacts deleted]

———————————

From: Lee Vandervis
To: Richard Thomson; Grace Ockwell; Sue Bidrose; Sandy Graham
Cc: Dave Cull; Kate Wilson; Chris Staynes; Jinty MacTavish; David Benson-Pope; Hilary Calvert; Aaron Hawkins; Mike Lord; Andrew Whiley; John Bezett; Doug Hall; Neville Peat; Andrew Noone
Sent: Tuesday, 15 September 2015 8:59 PM
Subject: Re: OIA Request

Re: OIA Request

I note Richard, that you and some others are quite happy to get on with running a city without knowing who is stealing what or how much things cost to run the city.
My regular voting against Council spending motions often arises because there is simply not enough information made available to justify voting for.
If staff reports provided adequate relevant information, and if rate-paid reports like the $300,000 Deloitte investigation information were made available to us who need to make related decisions, none of this tedious LGOIMA process would be necessary. It is a shame that I have to go to so much effort just get basic information, and that so few others can be bothered.

Cr. Vandervis

———————————

On 15/09/15 5:27 pm, “Richard Thomson” wrote:

Hi,

Could I please file an official information act request asking what the cost to Council has been of answering Cr Vandervis’s official information act requests over the last year.

on second thoughts, please don’t. I’d prefer you got on with running a city..

R

[contacts deleted]

—— End of Forwarded Message

Received from Lee Vandervis
Wed, 16 Sep 2015 at 9:27 p.m.

█ Message: And this…

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2015 21:50:07 +1200
To: David Benson-Pope, Richard Thomson, Grace Ockwell, Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham
Cc: Dave Cull, Kate Wilson, Chris Staynes, Jinty MacTavish, Hilary Calvert, Aaron Hawkins, Mike Lord, Andrew Whiley, John Bezett, Doug Hall, Neville Peat, Andrew Noone
Conversation: OIA Request
Subject: Re: OIA Request

You might well have stopped for a moment David, to consider the cost of not making LGOIMA requests, or of the enormous savings to ratepayers had LGOIMA requests been honestly and promptly complied with as required by the LGOIMA Act.
It has been recently proven that ex CEO Harland misled Councillors making LGOIMA requests to find out what Farry and Co were up to with Stadium planning/funding, by falsely claiming that the Carisbrook Stadium Trust were not subject to LGOIMA information disclosure requirements. Ex-CEO Harland did this despite having two legal opinions, one local and one ex Wellington, saying that the CST were absolutely subject to LGOIMA information requests. Harland’s deceptions have only come to light as a result of many subsequent LGOIMA requests.
Had Harland processed LGOIMA requests as legally required during his tenure it would highly likely have saved ratepayers many millions in a variety of areas, if not hundreds of millions wasted on our Stadium liability.
If all my 2011 LGOIMA requests for Citifleet information, including all credit card information had been made available as requested under LGOIMA, think how many subsequently stolen vehicles would have been saved and perhaps even the life of a bent manager. Put a price on that David and make sure to request the full cost thereof.
The horrendous cost of not having required relevant information on which to make decisions is the reason we have LGOIMA.
In my opinion, not using the LGOIMA process suggests that you are not doing your job as an elected representative.

Regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

———————————

On 15/09/15 6:04 pm, “David Benson-Pope” wrote:

While I agree with the sentiment … If he won’t I wil

This is therefore a request for full details of all lgoima requests made to the dcc by any councillor in the current triennium and the full cost thereof
Yours etc
David Benson-Pope
Sent from my Windows Phone

———————————

From: Richard Thomson
Sent: 15/09/2015 5:27 p.m.
To: Grace Ockwell; Sue Bidrose; Sandy Graham
Cc: Dave Cull; Kate Wilson; Chris Staynes; Lee Vandervis; Jinty MacTavish; David Benson-Pope; Hilary Calvert; Aaron Hawkins; Mike Lord; Andrew Whiley; John Bezett; Doug Hall; Neville Peat; Andrew Noone
Subject: OIA Request

Hi,

Could I please file an official information act request asking what the cost to Council has been of answering Cr Vandervis’s official information act requests over the last year.

on second thoughts, please don’t. I’d prefer you got on with running a city.

R

[contacts deleted]

—— End of Forwarded Message

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: toonpool.com – Cat Whisperer by Goodwyn (tweaked by whatifdunedin)

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “DCC: Know your council ‘chair-leaders’ #pillowtalk

  1. Gurglars

    The very nub of this
    “It ought to be of some concern to you by now that your methods and approach have failed to catch any fraudulent behaviour but that the methods of Mr McKenzie that you so disparage have caught a number. Perhaps the fact that people do come to you with info might actually result in people being caught if you worked with people instead of carrying on in the manner you do.”

    If they have caught “a number” as Thomson so describes/admits, my question is:

    Why have they not been publicly charged and shamed so that we know justice is being done or is the fast exit like Thompson and Abercrombie that suggests we read between the lines? Who if this is not the case have now been maligned by a lack of explanation.

    Justice has not only not been done, but nor has it seen to be done.

  2. Peter

    Why the sensitivity by Crs Thomson and Benson-Pope about another councillor making OIA’s? Is it because this just irritates them, or they want to ingratiate themselves with the poor council staff or are they sensitive about the actual information that could be uncovered? Or is it just petty personality stuff because they can’t stand Cr Vandervis and his stroppy approach?
    I find it interesting that these two… BP and Thomson are Labour Party people…and we usually associate the Left of Centre as a source of seeking fairness and accountability. No wonder Labour has had to work hard to restore trust with the electorate….not helped by the likes of Crs Thomson and BP. So frustrating for those who want real change and not more of the same from people who stymie change.

  3. russandbev

    While I don’t always agree of the methodology followed by Cr Lee Vandervis, none can question his hard work and his clear determination to expose wrong-doings when he is alerted to them. Or have them investigated properly.

    Cr Thomson alludes to the SDHB fraud and doesn’t mention that the Minister sacked him – rightly or wrongly – for his failures to detect such fraud before the anonymous tipoff.

    In my experience Cr Thomson failed to grasp the very simple issue that advance ticket sales to a stadium did not constitute private fund-raising. Mind you, he had the grace to admit to that after a few days, but nothing happened to bring those that were part of that particular deception to account. Just like nothing happens to those that lie under oath.

    What is also staggering to me is that Cr Thomson really believes that those that try to expose wrong-doings in media that are out of the control of the vested mainstream are to be denigrated. It is quite often in this type of media that NZ’ers learn about what is really going on and who is being protected. Only need to look at the OB networks that desperately try and hide the identification of “sporting greats” or “prominent NZ-ers” to see the value of alternative media and ways of communication.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    “While I don’t always agree of the methodology followed by Cr Lee Vandervis” – yes russandbev, he doesn’t go away and shut up when he gets a non-answer to an important question.
    I’m sure it would suit him perfectly if all he had to do was raise a matter of concern – fraud, paying for work that wasn’t done, theft, paying well over a reasonable price to “preferred suppliers” and decisions made without sufficient information, foolish beyond the comprehension of sentient ratepayers. Vandervis is an active kind of chap, he’s got a life and projects of his own, I’m sure he’d be thrilled if his questions only had to be asked once, then received full and frank answers. It would save so much of his time.

    So why does he keep “banging on” and making LGOIMA requests? A deep-seated desire to waste other people’s time along with ratepayers’ money?

    Or could it be because he doesn’t get anywhere with simple questions, and unlike some, he believes he was elected to look out for our city and its resources – and its people. After all a lot of us voted for him, and every day I meet people who didn’t and now wish they had. They’re fed up to the back teeth with councillors who, 5 seconds after the votes were counted, forgot they were there for us and went back to representing themselves and their mates, and riding their hobby-horses roughshod over our wishes.

  5. Bev Butler

    The purpose of acquiring official information is an important check on how public officers use public money or carry out their duties. Without it, unbridled corruption could occur.
    The fact that the Carisbrook Stadium Trust has abused this democratic process on numerous occasions by being obstructive should be a concern to all.

    • Elizabeth

      But not (a concern) if you’re DB-P or RT, more pie munching and sugary drinks to keep their waistlines.

      • Elizabeth
        Did you notice this in the middle of this tranche above

        From: Richard Thomson
        Sent: 15/09/2015 5:27 p.m.
        Subject: OIA Request
        ‘Hi,
        Could I please file an official information act request asking what the cost to Council has been of answering Cr. Vandervis’s official information act requests over the last year.
        on second thoughts, please don’t. I’d prefer you got on with running a city..
        R’

        That is just the stupid prat comment that one would expect from this Donkey Dick councillor.

        • Elizabeth

          Douglas
          Yes, how to play mind games with council staff (Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham and other council officers), and through to-ing and fro-ing waste their time.

          I hope the CE has subsequently advised on the distinction between governance and management roles (again) – to Cr Thomson, Cr Benson-Pope, their co-councillors, and the mayor.

          Obviously, a chairman of a standing committee gets access to greater information than a councillor (Cr Vandervis) whom Mayor Dave Cull has refused with some gusto to give chairships or deputy chairships to.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      True, Bev.
      It says more about those who criticise Cr Vandervis for his determination to get the facts, than it does about him for working hard to look out for our interests, which we hoped ALL councillors would do when we voted for them.
      Some councillors don’t just slack off on looking at the facts, they put their energy into support for withholding information from anyone who isn’t slow, lazy or implicated donkey-deep in creating the situations that need investigating.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Whose side are they on, Bev?
        Rorters’ or voters’?
        Can’t serve 2 masters.
        You and Vandervis are on the side of the ratepayers and voters.
        Whose side are the other councillors and DCC management on?

        • Elizabeth

          The scary part is manipulation of binary oppositions when many levels of fraud and corruption exist (not merely night versus day) and are perpetuated by lowlifes, incompetents, and those after top dollar for themselves.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    Interesting that it is first and foremost Richard Thomson who rises to do battle with Cr Vandervis. This is the very nature of the person, make great amounts of accusatory noise with next to no substance. He is ‘infamous’ for it, both around council table, as former chair of SDHB, and now on the SDHB commission. A seriously flawed egotistical person, much like a relatively neutered ‘bull in a china shop.’ The other only commentator is the fully compromised stranger to the truth Cr Benson-Pope. As for the rest? Were they even there or did they read the Vandervis’ emails? There is definitely something rotten in the ‘State of Dunedin’.

    • Calvin
      Also note. This guy is just full of it. He just doesn’t get it or know does he.

      On 15/09/15 9:48 PM, “Richard Thomson” wrote:
      ‘You have no idea how terribly amusing it is to regularly be accused, because you did the right thing, of “failing to notice the Lamborghini in the carpark”. Never mind that I never had a carpark so didn’t go in the carpark building, or that the fabled Lamborghini was only owned for a few days. Or indeed, had I gone in the carpark building for a random look around and spotted a Lamborghini I would probably have assumed it belonged to a surgeon anyway. So bearing that personal history in mind here is what really pisses me off.’

      My advice to Dick. Get over it. You are identified as the dumbass who never spotted the fraudster in your midst when you were supposed to be in charge for which Tony Ryall wanted you sacked. The Lamborghini myth is what will define you forever – no matter how you protest. Your performance in the City Council only reinforces that definition and all the squirming you do won’t change anything. Any[way] you just can’t help throwing rocks. WKR

      • Peter

        Is Richard saying in reference to the Lamborghini or other instances of Swann excess that because he didn’t see it himself…in the garage or whatever…..he heard nothing?Sounds a bit Colonel Klink to me.
        He also claims he investigated claims made by whoever re fraud after only 30 mins of receiving information. I find this hard to reconcile given the red flags re the stadium rort. The council….both wings….just look awkward when these are pointed out to them. You can feel the squirm, the cast down eyes, thank you for your well researched submission…..and next we have a submission by Dorothy Duck concerning a new kids playground for Caversham.

        • photonz

          You’d think a missing $17,000,000.00 would (figuratively) be more like a fire engine in the parking lot with its lights and sirens on, and all hoses on full bore on anybody who went past, than a Lambo.

        • Elizabeth

          Yip, especially in an already parched desert.

  7. Elizabeth

    Historical – within the documentation available via the post below are the TWO legal opinions (Anderson Lloyd and Simpson Grierson) obtained by former CEO Jim Harland in 2008; and which Bev Butler netted via LGOIMA request in 2012.

    [post] 8.3.14 Carisbrook Stadium Trust subject to LGOIMA

  8. Elizabeth

    ███ On the DREAD stadium subject – an excellent article doing the rounds, received by link today.

    ### zerohedge.com 4 Sep 2015 at 20:00 -0400
    Bread and Circuses – The Shady, Slimy and Corrupt World of Taxpayer Funded Sports Stadiums
    Submitted by Tyler Durden
    Like pretty much everything in the modern U.S. economy, wealthy and connected people fleecing taxpayers in order to earn even greater piles of money is also the business model when it comes to sports stadiums. Many cities have tried to make voter approval mandatory before these building boondoggles get started, but in almost all cases these efforts are thwarted by a powerful coalition of businessmen and corrupt politicians. Sound familiar? Yep, it a microcosm for pretty much everything else in America these days.
    Read more

    Source: Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com – posted Thursday Sep 3, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    The comments to the article at zerohedge.com, rest assured, would never be allowed to see the light of day at ODT, never ever. *sob

    █ Light bulb: What if? Dunedin at https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/

  9. Lyndon Weggery

    I have read these emails and am frankly appalled that certain Councillors can even write emails like this. Ratepayers that I know feel very deeply betrayed and frustrated that all because of crazy Stadium funding decisions made in the past this amazing City suffers from a lack of local body funding to address the core issues that really matter. This is the reason why we are stuck with some many “holding actions” and delaying tactics.

  10. Gurglars

    Dead right, Lyndon, but not only the stadium, this is merely the most obvious error of judgement by recent councils including many of the hypocrites still extant.

    Dave Cull does not however wish to go back and litigate these errors as that will damn those councillors voting for his current pie in the sky projects.

    Cauterize the wounds Dave, name the guilty, start the process of healing the wounds for the citizens and get back on track managing the assets and problems of the city, rather than creating continuous new problems which we cannot afford. The city is on a knife edge to bankruptcy, only a hair movement in the interest rates in the wrong direction and the crushing weight of the interest rate swaps will bury this city’s management.

    When interest rates rise they rise rapidly, not like the slow fall we are experiencing now.

  11. Jacob

    New airline sends its jobs north Link
    Enterprise Dunedin was asked for $12,000 but were told no money was available.
    Enterprise Dunedin has no money to keep jobs in Dunedin. How come it is able to find the money to sent “da boss” on a junket to China. (to look at swimming pools)

    • Peter

      I thought it odd that $12k for a council gift of a container was a sticking point given the total investment cost. Aside from that it is not council business to provide freebies all over the place for some businesses and not others.
      Some of these people need to grow up and not run to the DCC for a handout. Ok, the ORFU tried it on with considerable success, but that is where it should stop.

      • photonz

        It’s more than odd – it’s totally unbelievable that an operation worth over a million dollars a year is shifted because someone won’t give them a container.

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