No resolution of council complaint

Lee Vandervis
Lee Vandervis
A prolonged stoush between Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and one of his councillors over claims of broken rules is to be abandoned without resolution.

Cr Lee Vandervis had lodged a code of conduct complaint in September last year, claiming Mr Cull erred in his handling of ''a whole bunch of issues'', including points of order raised by councillors during meetings.

Cr Vandervis' action was among tit-for-tat moves that saw six complaints lodged within weeks - all of them involving Cr Vandervis, either as the councillor making the complaints or as the target of them.

Most had since been resolved, but the complaint involving Cr Vandervis and Mr Cull had not, despite attempts at mediation.

Instead, councillors will be asked on Monday to consider resolving the matter by accepting it is time to move on.

A report by deputy mayor Chris Staynes recommended taking no further action because of the elapsed time, and because a review of the council's code of conduct complaints procedure was already under way.

Cr Vandervis confirmed when contacted yesterday he was involved in the matter, but was reluctant to comment about the details, saying only it was ''not exciting at all''.

''In general, the code of conduct system seems not to have been workable.

''The item you refer to is, I believe, simply a tidy-up.''

Cr Staynes could not be reached for comment.

Mr Cull confirmed earlier this year a review was under way that would look to simplify standing orders, and possibly introduce an independent panel to adjudicate complaints.


DCC should minute points of order

An improvement would be to record the substance of points of order in the minutes and whether they are allowed, (regardless of whether this is conventional or not.) At the moment, the chair of a council meeting has absolute discretion as to whether they accept a point of order or not. No follow up is possible.

Without being able to review how points of order are managed by council and committee chairs (via a record in the minutes), it's impossible to improve the standard of chairmanship. 

Let's hope it is never more than ignorance or incompetence which makes a point of order incorrectly over-ruled and not an attempt to shut up a too-inquisitive councillor. [abridged]

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