Support for Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull's appointments will
be put to the test when councillors take their seats for the
first time in public today.
The new council - featuring seven new faces compared with the
last term - will hold its inaugural meeting this afternoon.
One of the first orders of business, after councillors are
sworn in, will be to consider reports outlining Mr Cull's
appointments to positions of responsibility and changes to
the committee structure.
The appointments, unveiled last week, saw Cr Lee Vandervis
overlooked for any senior roles in the new structure, despite
the fact he was the third-highest-polling city councillor
elected in this month's local body elections.
Instead, Cr Chris Staynes was returned as deputy mayor and
past councillor David Benson-Pope was appointed chairman of
the planning and regulatory committee.
Five other newcomers received deputy chairmanships.
Today's largely-procedural meeting will include reports from
Mr Cull on the council's revamped committee structure,
membership and appointments to outside organisations.
The reports are for noting only, meaning it will be up to
councillors to put forward counter-proposals if they are not
satisfied. That was a change introduced with local government
reforms by the National-led Government, which handed mayors
the power to make appointments rather than propose them in
resolutions to be voted on by the full council.
It remains to be seen whether Cr Vandervis will put forward
He said last night he had not ''finally decided what I am
going to do''.
Instead, he was awaiting clarity on ''process issues'',
including how the hunt for the next council chief executive
was being handled, before deciding his next move.
Last week, it emerged Mr Vandervis had prematurely quit a
''short and acrimonious'' meeting with Mr Cull after being
told he had missed out on any senior roles.
Cr Vandervis responded by warning Mr Cull's move did not bode
well for a ''respectful or temperate'' council term.
Other councillors spoken to by the Otago Daily Times
said time would tell whether Dunedin had a united or divisive
council this term.
However, most spoken to believed the group would be able to
Today's schedule will include a group photo shoot for
councillors, before the full council meeting begins at 1pm
with the swearing-in of Mr Cull and his councillors.
The meeting will also mark the contributions of two
long-serving city councillors, Paul Hudson and Teresa
Stevenson, after both stood unsuccessfully for another term.