SHOULD A COMMISSIONER BE APPOINTED FOR AUCKLAND COUNCIL?
Below are comments from a fellow ratepayer that I think are most worthy of consideration.
The Government should appoint a Commissioner to oversee Auckland Council
Here is why they should, and how they should successfully implement the changes needed to remedy the council.
Auckland Council have released their 2017/2018 Annual Report.
This report shows the continuing pattern of growing debt, interest payments, operating expenses and staff numbers.
In every instance they have exceeded their budgets. Debt is now$12.66billion.
This negative information was excluded from the Report’s summaries.
Continuously setting budgets and then failing to meet them then excluding such vital and controversial evidence from their summaries is one just one example of council’s culture of denial, lack of transparency and accountability.
Unlike the private sector where poorly managed companies perish, council have an unlimited supply of money available and have developed more and more unpopular ways to access it. Even with these increases in taxation, services and fees and sale of public land, the figures are still worsening.
Auckland Council say they are operating “in a prudent and effective manner”.
I believe that they are not providing either good management or the public service that they should. I believe that Council’s senior management and councillors are either are out of their depth or cannot see their failure. Whatever the reason, it is clear that they are not capable of turning around an ever worsening situation without firm accountable outside help.
The Government must take action.
Government cannot continue to stand by as things worsen year by year. The government set this up and are responsible to us to make it work. They must acknowledge that it is not working, is not what they promised and then provide a competent organization to run our city.
This is what Government must do.
The Minister will appoint a Commissioner. The task is to get council to be an effective, open, economic, user friendly organization in which all staff are accountable for and want to achieve and maintain these values.
The starting point. The Commissioner will call for an immediate stop on increasing costs and debt and appoint an overseer to both the Mayor and the CEO. These overseers will obtain from each a firm plan, with regular targets, to achieving the goal. The Mayor and CEO will report on a daily basis. The targets must be achieved. This is a task regularly accomplished by senior management in the private sector so it is reasonable to expect this of the senior council management.
Achieving targets will necessitates big changes. These will be implemented by council with the help of private practice Cost Accountants, Quantity surveyors and others. The whole organisation and its appendages must be scrutinised. The validity of each part must be questioned. Revising legislation may be necessary to remove non-contributory parts and implement changes. New purchasing rules will be implemented.
Lazy practices, corruption and favouring will be stopped.
Good staff will stay because bad working conditions and bullies will be rooted out.
Senior staff, councillors and local boards often just “go with the flow”. We are told that council is “operating in a prudent and effective manner”. That their purchasing is economic and without corruption because they have (non-existent) “checks and balances”. They will stop ignoring or censoring people who question their practices. Accountability will stop evasive answers and excuses
Currently, Council staff control the CEO and elected members by monitoring and withholding information, censoring, limiting public access and feedback and with alternative truths.
Local boards are rendered impotent by council minders who will manipulate information and actively support members who favour the council’s wishes against those who do not.
Change must and certainly can made to happen. A commissioner working with council staff, and elected members can achieve this.
There are many people with information available to ensure success.