Vandervis to be invited to meeting

The Mosgiel Taieri Community Board decided yesterday to invite Cr Lee Vandervis to its next meeting after denouncing his "defamatory" and "ridiculous" comments about the city's community boards.

Cr Vandervis raised the ire of community board members after he suggested, in an opinion piece published in the Otago Daily Times last week, the boards were a waste of time and should be axed.

Mosgiel Taieri Community Board deputy chairman Barry Barbour moved to include discussion on what he called Cr Vandervis' "defamatory remarks", at his board's meeting last night.

He said the comments were "an ongoing thing" with Cr Vandervis, which was "ridiculous".

Cr Vandervis' described community board meetings as a "charade" which generated paperwork he used to "light my log-burner".

He also criticised the $342,000 spent each year paying board members, saying the boards were "job-creation schemes" for members who remained anonymous in their communities, and called some chairmen "seat-warmers".

Board member Martin Dillon described the opinion piece as a "personal attack on our integrity as elected members of the council", while fellow member Sandra Wilson questioned if he had ever attended a community board meeting.

Board chairman Bill Feather said Cr Vandervis "quite clearly ... has no sense of community".

"He clearly does not understand how this community operates and for that reason we should invite him into it."

Board member Brian Miller pointed out Cr Vandervis' right to free speech and said the board should "turn a negative into a positive".

"I think there is probably quite a bit of truth in the angle that they don't take any notice of us. I think we have all commented, at times, that we don't believe we are being taken notice of. Should we ask council to review community boards?

"Are they prepared to give us any more say?

"Are we getting treated by the council as we should?"

Five of the board's seven members approved the motion: "The board denounces Cr Vandervis' personal attack on the integrity of the Mosgiel Taieri Community Board, as elected members of council, and invites Cr Vandervis to attend a board meeting to gain understanding of the work of the board".

Mr Miller abstained and Cr Syd Brown withdrew from the discussion.

Add a Comment