Bid to oust board chairman called off

Neil Gillespie
Neil Gillespie
A group of Cromwell Community Board members who had sought to oust board chairman Neil Gillespie from his role have stopped their bid to do so.

Central Otago District Council chief executive Sanchia Jacobs today announced that Robin Dicey, Annabel Blaikie, Werner Murray and Shirley Calvert had withdrawn their formal requisition of meeting to remove Mr Gillespie as board chairman.

She said the was "pleased to confirm" the requisition order had been removed.

"The original requisition lodged by four of the community board members to remove the chairperson had resulted in some unintended consequences, namely the high level of media interest and concern in the community.

"Those members of the board that issued the requisition order were following a procedure available to them under the Local Government Act.

"They had not anticipated or intended the high level of community and media interest, and as a result have agreed to withdraw the requisition and discuss their concerns informally," Ms Jacobs said.

She said "it is good that the requisition has been withdrawn, this will allow for the board to work collectively to represent the residents and ratepayers of the Cromwell ward.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".

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan had slammed the group's move to oust Mr Gillespie, and the group's actions had been met with confusion and concern by many in the community, who largely praised Mr Gillespie and asked why the group wanted to remove him as chairman.

None of the group had announced any reasons behind their actions.

Ms Jacobs said what was important was "that we act together to advance what is in the best interests of Cromwell and the wider region".

"The future of the district is far too important to be informed by anything other than a strong cohesive board working together towards the betterment of Cromwell. All members of the Cromwell Community Board have expressed their commitment to that goal".

As a result of the withdrawal of the requisition, there will no longer be a public meeting on September 19.

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