Leadership role questions raised

Photo: ODT files
PHOTO: ODT files
The leadership around the council table at the embattled Otago Regional Council lacks structure and clear expectations, an Otago regional councillor says.

Cr Bryan Scott is set to try his luck again asking for up-to-date job descriptions to be written for the chairman and deputy chairman.

Cr Scott first put the idea during a council meeting last month, but was shut down by deputy chairman Michael Laws, who said it would go against standing orders if councillors were to vote on Cr Scott’s job descriptions motion.

The idea came to the fore after councillors voted 7-4 on Cr Law’s motion for council chief executive Sarah Gardner to meet Cr Laws, as deputy chairman, and chairman Andrew Noone once a week to make sure they were all informed.

Cr Scott initially supported the motion but called for the discussion to be moved into public excluded.

As that idea was rejected, he revealed he wanted to review the job descriptions of the chairman and deputy chairman as well, before being told that would go against procedure.

But Cr Scott is set to ask again tomorrow during a governance, culture and customer committee meeting.

His motion asks that council governance, culture and customer general manager Amanda Vercoe, after studying standing orders and what exists at other regional councils, drafts job descriptions for the two positions and presents those descriptions to the committee for consideration.

The drafting should be in consultation with the chief executive, chairman and deputy chairman, it said.

Cr Scott said he believed better structure and expectation around the roles were needed.

"Both roles need to be constructive and align with Otago Regional Council aims and values."

He is one of four councillors who signed a letter sent to Environment Minister David Parker last month, which questioned other councillors’ aims and values when dealing with water issues.

"In our view, while the [council] staff produce timely, quality advice and technical reports to meet councillor-agreed targets towards the land and water plan notification, the ORC governance arm displays what could be described as dysfunctional behaviour when the time comes to note, or act, on such advice," the letter said.

"We have concerns as to whether the council follows principles of natural justice and fairness in its behaviour when water issues are considered.

"These behaviours do not seem to extend into other areas of council’s work."

Mr Parker said he would respond to the issues raised in the letter and officials were providing him with information and advice.

He also said he intended to meet Mr Noone to discuss his views on the issues raised.

molly.houseman@odt.co.nz

 

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