Attempt to remove chairman called off

Neil Gillespie
Neil Gillespie
A group of four Cromwell Community Board members who tried to remove board chairman Neil Gillespie from his role have remained silent following an announcement their bid to oust him has been called off.

Robin Dicey, Annabel Blaikie, Werner Murray and Shirley Calvert had requisitioned a meeting to remove Mr Gillespie as board chairman, but Central Otago District Council chief executive Sanchia Jacobs announced yesterday the group had withdrawn the requisition.

None of the group had announced any of the reasons for wishing to oust Mr Gillespie, and Facebook comment about the group's move largely questioned it. Most people supported Mr Gillespie and/or wondered why the group was trying to oust him.

Ms Jacobs' statement yesterday said the group felt its actions had ''resulted in some unintended consequences, namely the high level of media interest and concern in the community ... as a result [they] have agreed to withdraw the requisition and discuss their concerns informally''.

Facebook reaction to yesterday's announcement included a comment that calling off the meeting was ''a common-sense result all round'', but also a question of ''how will they [CCB members] work together when there is no trust within the board?''.

Former CCB member Helen Hucklebridge said on Facebook ''Common sense should have prevailed before they took the action - but better now than at a public meeting. However, in the meantime their action has caused unbelievable stress to Neil, his family and his colleagues. How can they [the group of four] now say that they didn't anticipate or intend the high level of media interest and community concern?''

When approached for comment, Mr Gillespie, as well as fellow CCB members Anna Harrison and Nigel McKinlay and Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan, who had all supported Mr Gillespie, said they were pleased the requisition for a meeting had been withdrawn, so the CCB could continue representing and assisting the Cromwell district.

None of the group of four have responded to several sets of questions from the Otago Daily Times.

Ms Jacobs said the withdrawal of the requisition ''will allow for the board to work collectively to represent the residents and ratepayers of the Cromwell ward. This will be done through a facilitated discussion and by meeting to discuss the way the board works with the council''.

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