DCC suddenly wakes up! *cough —after fleet car pointers from years back

Oh wait, this is a new discovery. Pigs what fly.

Limp wrists, institutionalised rip-offs, with yet another trumped up (managerial) job title: “organisational development and performance group manager”.

DCC vehicles [Photo by RNZ Ian Telfer]Photo: RNZ/Ian Telfer

About 60 council staff had access to council cars to take home, but the review showed many no longer needed to.

### ODT Online Fri, 18 Sep 2015
DCC tightens up on private car use
By Chris Morris
The Dunedin City Council is tightening control of its vehicle fleet after finding dozens of staff have been taking cars home at night for no valid reason. The finding came after a review launched earlier this year which found “ad hoc” processes governing the personal use of council cars by some staff.
Read more

█ Sample comments dredged up from What if? Dunedin archives (from 36 of 134 pages pertinent to the site moderator’s search, is all….):

Phil
Submitted on 2014/12/30 at 11:49 am

Mick, the investigation brief to Deloitte, as weak as it was, was not limited to Citifleet. Of course Citifleet was the main focus, but the opportunity was given to carry out a general stocktake of DCC internal practices. Many of the internal interviews conducted had no relationship to Citifleet. Bad practices within other departments were identified with the help of staff, and recommendations given. As you say, the value of the report will be in how effectively the recommendations are enforced.

Phil
Submitted on 2014/12/29 at 9:21 pm

Terribly unfair. How will current Assistant department managers be able to get cheap maintenance from DCC contractors on their home air conditioning systems cheaply installed by DCC contractors now ? Or get their kitchen remodelled for half of the market rate ? How are these highly valued public servants supposed to survive if they have to live like normal people ?

I remember a few years ago when a (former) department manager telephoned all the contractors and asked them not to send Christmas gifts into the DCC offices. He offered instead to drive out to each contractor (presumably in a DCC fleet car) and collect the gifts himself. That’s going the extra mile.

Phil
Submitted on 2014/11/18 at 9:22 pm

Still on the list are the remainder of the senior staff who have been identified by Deloitte as being involved in serious and ongoing conflict of interest business dealings. Awarding uncontested contracts to family members with no internal checking, identifying a need for specialist equipment or services within their DCC department, buying the equipment/services privately, and then hiring it back to their own department. Most of the managers identified to date are long term managers with 20 years in the role. It seems that the younger staff elevated to management roles have a higher professional integrity level than their elder colleagues. I suspect a few more early retirements are on the horizon.

Phil
Submitted on 2014/10/30 at 3:43 am

I’m more impressed (or depressed) by the revelation that there are 43 current DCC staff members who earn in excess of $100k a year. Given that there are nowhere near 43 departments within DCC (more like half that number) that means that ridiculous salaries are not merely confined to heads of departments.

Phil
Submitted on 2014/08/22 at 6:17 pm

Cars, the number of vehicles actually required by DCC is being included in the process. Specifically mentioned in the internal memo released to staff by the CEO today was the private use of DCC vehicles by staff, which is a positive and overdue move. DCC assets are no longer available for direct purchase by staff or elected officials. Any and all potential conflicts of interest are now required to be formally registered. I think that Sue Bidrose is handling this as well as anyone faced with such a situation could. She could not have foreseen this mess. It was interesting in discussions last night that one of the few people within the organisation who spanned the entire fraud period, which pre dates Brent Bachop, was Athol. How did he miss this, given that he had the finance portfolio the whole time ? Not suggesting that Athol is involved but when you are talking about $1.5m, the buck has to stop somewhere.

Phil
Submitted on 2014/08/09 at 10:27 am

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}

Phil
Submitted on 2014/06/26 at 7:11 pm

I’m trying to get my head around the numbers as well. I’m assuming that the Citifleet stocks include for the likes of the Water Dept, Library buses etc. From memory there are about 300 people working in the Civic Centre, so 200 vehicles is a hell of a lot to service just the Civic Centre. Some vehicles were permanently reserved for particular people, but even so.

The issue of “take home” vehicles has always annoyed me. The Chief Building Inspector does not need to take a DCC car home every night. He is not on the roster for after hours call-outs. Neither is the head of the Environmental Health department. On the subject of call-outs themselves, I would say that 80% of those who work in the Civic Centre live no more than a 10 to 15 minute drive from their home. Should they be required to attend something out of hours, it is not unreasonable to expect them to drive their own car to the Civic Centre, park it in the Civic Centre garage, and then take out a DCC car. It’s not a Health and Safety issue as they use private transport to get to their place of work every day. There is absolutely no reason why the car pool needs to get emptied out at 5pm every evening. Part of the problem, I believe, is that the majority of vehicles are unmarked. People would be far less likely to park up in the Countdown carpark on a Saturday evening if there was a thumping great DCC logo painted on the side.

Phil
Submitted on 2012/07/16 at 5:42 am

If Paul Orders is hunting for more suggestions, he can take a look at the ridiculous “retention” money being paid to lower and middle DCC managers over and above their listed salary. Bumping up the gross income to between 30 and 50% higher than the salary listed for them. No staff member in the DCC is that indispensable. Likewise to the staff members receiving 105% of their graded salary, year after year, supposedly reserved for a “one off action”. This practice has been going on for so long now that staff are expecting it as a right.

Phil
Submitted on 2012/07/13 at 9:01 am

Speaking of DCC and transport, I heard a big grizzle from inside the hallowed halls a couple of days ago. Paul Orders’ latest economy drive (pardon the pun) effort has been to put the brakes (another goody) on the practice of staff routinely taking home DCC cars at night. Good on you, Paul, and not a day too soon. A bouquet from me. This blatant abuse used to annoy the hell out of me. 50 cars in the DCC car pool that would disappear at 5pm every evening. You would get mowed down if you dared walk in front of the garage driveway at 30 seconds past 5pm. The majority of cars are now unmarked (big mistake), removing the ability to monitor private usage of publicly funded vehicles. They should all be marked. The only area potentially requiring stealth is noise control, and that’s carried out by private contractors (in their own MARKED vehicles, I might add). There is no reason why staff members need to take DCC cars home at night and weekends. 99.9% of the staff are not on a 24 hour callout. Of those who might be called out (once every 6 months), the majority live no more than 15 minutes from the DCC garage. They can easily drive to the Octagon and collect a DCC car if they need. The Chief Building Inspector does not need a DCC 4wd car parked up in his Wakari driveway every night. No one from the I.T. department should be driving to and from Fairfield to work in a DCC car. City Property staff do not need free undercover carparks 2 minutes from the Octagon. Rodney Bryant did not need a dedicated unmarked DCC car which no other staff member was allowed to use (although that may have been a passive smoking Health and Safety issue to protect the rest of the staff). My alltime favourite was the Environmental Health Officer who used to schedule his restaurant inspections for 8am every day (every day), so that he would “have” to take a DCC car home the night before. It’s childish behaviour and good on the CEO for doing what these supposed professionals should have had the decency to do themselves.

et cetera

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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15 Comments

Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Police, Politics, Property, Transportation, What stadium

15 responses to “DCC suddenly wakes up! *cough —after fleet car pointers from years back

  1. Anonymous

    Hang on here a second.
    *PAUL ORDERS* in 2012, enacted a policy of staff not being able to take fleet cars home.
    In 2015, *SUE BIDROSE* enacts the SAME policy of staff not being able to take fleet cars home.
    But this needed a further review to decide.
    What happened between the departure of Paul Orders and the appointment of Sue Bidrose?
    Was the current CEO unaware of the policy enforced in 2011/2012?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Was it a “policy” without consequences for ignoring it?
      Are there going to be consequences now?

    • Peter

      There was an interesting article in the last World Focus of ODT, I think, on ltaly and the complete inertia of the ltalian bureaucracy to enact laws. Sometimes it takes years for reforms to happen after going through layers of red tape.
      Certainly at the DCC it can take ages for things to happen and I suspect it is only constant pressure that makes things happen.
      Answers to information requests can take months, up to a year or more. It is this reality that makes us less than sympathetic, especially when the OIA is not involved and just requires simple answers. It is different where the search for information is more complex. Too much latitude is given to obstructive behaviour from the usual dodgy characters by the DCC. Both the DCC and even the Ombudsman could save a lot of time wasting by standing up to these scoundrels instead of cowering to them to wheedle out information.
      Are Crs Thomson and Benson Pope concerned by this? Given their objections to OIAs, I doubt it.

  2. Gurglars

    The policy was not enforced! Like many of the planned “improvements” they are paid lip service by the staff.

    Some of the horrendous issues raised by Phil have just spoiled my breakfast.

    Overproof salaries, private cars, 200 employees and 300 cars (+ 152 more)

    When is rortville going to be brought back to prudence?

    Certainly not at the bidrose tortoise speed.

  3. Rob Hamlin

    McP is working hard on this. This today – No reader responses allowed!:

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/356415/information-requests-irk-councillors

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Probably afraid that someone would point out that if information had been made available in the first place there would have been no need for this time- and money-wasting procedure.

      Who wasted time and money? Those who attempted to keep information under wraps.

      Not those who asked once, twice……. and ended up having to go through LGOIMA to get the information they were entitled to from the get-go.

      What happened to Greater Dunedin’s espousal of “transparency” pre-election?

    • Elizabeth

      See originary post at our website “online” that includes the emails between Crs Thomson, Benson-Pope and Vandervis: [What if? Dunedin] https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/dcc-know-your-council-chair-leaders-pillowtalk/

      No free advertising today at ODT then.

      • Elizabeth I can’t help noting the self-serving interest apparent in Benson Pope’s comment.

        “The Dunedin City Council is wasting time and money “chasing ghosts” as councillors fire off tit for tat official information requests aimed at each other, Cr David Benson-Pope says. But to underscore his point, Cr Benson-Pope has fired off another one – this time requesting the cost of all the requests.”

        Yes that transparent and ghostly hypocrite who sat in judgement on that infamous show trial of Cr Vandervis some months ago.

        Well he would say that wouldn’t he. He with a record associated with tennis balls in mouths as his solution to people talking.

        • Elizabeth

          A colleague caught it similarly last night, Douglas.
          I hope he won’t mind if I share his opener directed at Thomson (obviously Benson-Pope receives the same camel hair tar brush):

          “As Jesus said, They strain out gnats and swallow camels”.

        • Elizabeth

          The implication by longer reference (depending on bible version) carries greater relevance:

          Matthew 23:23-25
          23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence….

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woes_of_the_Pharisees
          The Woes of the Pharisees is a list of criticisms by Jesus against scribes and Pharisees in the Gospel of Luke 11:37-54 and Gospel of Matthew 23:1-39. Mark 12:35-40 and Luke 20:45-47 include warnings about scribes.
          Seven are listed in Matthew, and hence Matthew’s version is known as the seven woes, while only six are given in Luke, whose version is thus known as the six woes.
          The woes mostly criticise the Pharisees for hypocrisy and perjury. They illustrate the differences between inner and outer moral states.

      • Elizabeth
        At the risk of repeating an earlier comment, I have to observe that these two can’t give the dog a bone. They want to shut Lee down at any cost while for her part, the turkey just keeps on burbling gobbledegook.

  4. Silent Knight.

    Hype. The Greater Dunedin “transparency” is when they look straight through you and say f * * k off.

  5. Aha Elizabeth

    You observe ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence….”
    This indeed covers both these ‘individuals’ – the former dismissed from HM government for misleading the House and the latter for not performing his duty in protecting the taxpayers from a thief as a servant under his control. And they have the gall to sit there throwing rocks.

    Why should we ever listen to them?

  6. Peter

    All this begs the point. Where there is true transparency, OI requests become redundant.

  7. Gurglars

    Exactly Peter, if the DCC advised us of their warts, we could all expect some wartime.

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