In February 2013 I became aware my emails to AC Councillors and Local Board members had been blocked for several months. I addressed a full council meeting on the issue and after initially denying anyone’s emails had been blocked or censored the Chief Executive acknowledged this had happened. He said that since the start of Auckland Council three people had been “case managed”. In an attempt to vindicate the action, Auckland Council spent $56,682.02 on a review by KPMG and Meredith Connell. www.accountabilitynz.wordpress.com/2013/06/ In the report under Section 30 it noted “council undertakes case management when it has been established that a customer would benefit from specific management to ensure a better service to the customer and the council.” Under Section 39 it noted “the council has an obligation to develop a policy to measure unreasonable complainant conduct and should do so in order to reduce legal risks.”
I was advised blocking of my emails had been discontinued.
Then in February 2015 my emails to elected representatives were blocked again. The initial reaction from the Manager, Democracy Services was
Councillor Cooper has forwarded me a copy of the answer she sent to your 8.04am email yesterday, which proves that she received it. I wish to assure you that the Council is not blocking any of your emails. I consider this matter now closed.”
This was unacceptable to me as my eventual contact with Cr Cooper was via her private email. It was only after my insistence that if emails were not delivered to their intended recipients they had been “blocked”, that I was informed they had been “quarantined”.
Then on 22 September 2016, following being given the run-around by the Call Centre re a LGOIMA request, I lodged a complaint with Chief Executive, Stephen Town. Rather than address my complaint he launched a fusillade of generalised allegations against me accusing me of being abusive and causing council staff distress. On 23 September I refuted his allegations and asked him to substantiate them and provide me with a copy of threatening or abusive emails and a transcript of threatening or abusive phone calls. He refused.
On 7 October 2016 I complained to the Ombudsman.
On 4 November 2016 I received an email from Dayle Muru on behalf of the CE purporting to answer my letter to Mr Town of 23 September 2016. It was an evasive non-specific reply.
Re phone calls : “The concerns surrounding your communications were during interactions with staff outside the call centre. Therefore, we are unable to provide you transcripts in relation to the behaviour that led to Stephen’s letter to you.”
Re emails : “The behaviour complained of was a result of phone calls with staff and do not relate to emails.”
On 20 January 2017 it was revealed I was one of 31 ratepayers restricted from contacting AC.
On 24 March 2017 I enquired what was happening re my 6-monthly review. AC’s UCC (unreasonable customer complainant) policy provided for six-monthly reviews.
On 28 March Dayle Muru advised me “In regards to your query about the six month review in accordance with the UCC policy, this will be carried out by the legal team and the Chief Executive and will take about two weeks to be thoroughly investigated.”
On 27 April I was invited to make a written submission on my review.
On 12 May Sally Woods, Customer Experience Manager, advised me “Your review is now with the legal team.”
On 16 June Sally Woods said they had referred the matter to Meredith Connell to make sure they were being fair to me. That cost AC $5908.
On 10 July Stephen Town wrote to me saying my ban had been extended for a further 12 months. I asked for a copy of the Meredith Connell report but my request was refused.
On 5 March 2018 Sally Woods advised me of my impending UCC review due on 22 March and asked for my feedback. I sent it.
On 23 March I received the following email from Sally Woods.
“Sorry for the delay in providing a final response to you.
Michael Quinn has completed his review and provided a recommendation to Stephen Town. You should expect a letter from Stephen early next week.”
To add insult to injury she invited me to have my say on the “10 year budget consultation.”
Horowhenua District Council has also had communication problems.
On 27 March at 4.10 pm I received an email enclosing a letter from Mr Town advising my communication restrictions had been removed.