The Henderson-Massey Local Board meeting originally scheduled for 6.30 pm 5 May 2011 was rescheduled to 11 am 10 May – a time inappropriate for working ratepayers.
On 9 May I lodged a complaint by phone regarding the change and asked for a Complaint number. I was assigned No 9000 109 329. More than a week later I wrote to Megan Tyler, Local Board Relationship Manager regarding my complaint. Below is my letter and her reply.
17 May 2011
Ms Megan Tyler,
Local Board Relationship Manager,
Waitakere Ranges, Henderson-Massey, Whau.
Dear Ms Tyler,
Re: COMPLAINT 9000 109 329
You expressed concern about my complaints and suggested a meeting might be in order.
I will concentrate on this complaint so that you may understand my frustration.
Under “COMPLAINTS” on the Council website it states under “Ways to contact us”
- phone or fax
Furthermore, it states under “How we manage complaints”
“We will send you an acknowledgement within three working days and have a full response sent to you within ten working days. If this timeframe cannot be met we will let you know why and give you a new response date.”
On Monday 9 May at 10.34 am I rang the Call Centre and said I would like to complain about the change in time of the forthcoming Henderson-Massey Local Board meeting from 6.30 pm at night to 11 am in the morning. After some discussion I was given a complaint number at 10.42 am.
Two weeks earlier I had sent an email to the Board Chair on the matter ad my concerns had been treated dismissively.
On Thursday 12 May I rang the Call Centre to enquire about the progress of my complaint. At 8.33 am the Call Centre staff member said she would get her team leader to ring me back to let me know who had picked the complaint up. No call eventuated. At 4.31 pm I rang back and was told they did not know who was handling it.
Q1. Why was I not sent an acknowledgement of my complaint by 13 May?
On Friday 13 May at 2.37 pm I rang 440 7192 and Tua informed me she would leave a message for you to ring me as you were at a meeting in town.
Q2. Did you receive that message?
On Monday 16 May, having still received no call from you I rang 440 7192 and was told you were out of the office. I again left a message for you to ring me.
Today at 1.26 pm I received by email a copy of your letter dated 16 May.
In my opinion the Council website is unreliable. There’s much rhetoric unmatched by substance. Procedures are laid out but not followed.
Under Local Boards it states “Your say is important to Local Boards. Auckland’s twenty one local boards regularly engage with their communities so they can have their say at a local level.”
The Local Board is supposed to be the conduit between local community and Council and democratic opportunities to speak are already limited without placing further restrictions on the public. I notice you have said “The timeframes were such that the only day this meeting could be scheduled, in order to receive financial information in time to hold a meeting and then provide those resolutions to the Governing Body, was Tuesday May 2011.”
However, I notice the following Local Board meetings were held:
5 May 2011 6 pm Manurewa
6 pm Puketapapa
6.30 pm Hsn-Massey RESCHEDULED to 10 May
9 May 2011 6 pm Howick
10 May 2011 5.30 pm Kaipatiki
6 pm Maungakiekie-Tamaki
6 pm Waitemata
6.30 pm Whau
I also note that in February an extraordinary meeting of the Henderson-Massey Local board was held on 14 February.
Q3. Why was an extraordinary meeting not held on 10 May, thereby leaving the 5 May meeting intact and accessible to working ratepayers?
3 Henderson-Massey Local Board members have told me they were aware of the change of date from 5 May to 10 May on 7 April. Yet three others have told me they knew nothing about it until very late in the piece. The meeting times should be for the convenience of ratepayers who pay the salaries of the Council staff and representatives. The speaking time in public forum is very limited as it is already.
Q4. Whose decision was it to change the meeting date and time?
Q5. How many members of the public have complained about this matter?
Megan Tyler’s Reply (26 May 2011)
Dear Mr Osborne
RE: COMPLAINT NUMBER 9000109491
Thank you for your letter dated 17 May 2011. I will respond to each of your questions in turn:
Question 1: I was only able to respond to your letter by 16 May 2011.
Question 2: Yes, I received the message.
Question 3: It was decided that due to the need to have a meeting on 10 May 2011, there was no need to have two meetings within the space of three days and therefore the 5 May 2011 meeting was rescheduled to 10 May 2011.
Question 4: The Chair and I discussed the matter and agreed to change the meeting day and time. Ultimately, it was the Chair’s decision based on my advice.
Question 5 : We have had no formal complaints about the change in meeting date with the exception of your letter. We fielded five calls from members of the public asking why the meeting date had been changed.
You have also raised a concern around the way in which the Board Chair responded to your email of 28 April 2011. While the answer was short, it is clear to me that the Chair felt she had answered your question appropriately, hence her confirmation of that fact.
Local Board Relationship Manager
Henderson-Massey, Waitakere Ranges, Whau
I rang Megan to inform her the complaint I was referring to in my letter dated 17 May 2011 was 9000 109 329 NOT 9000 109 491