'I’m willing to be appalling': Heated clash at board meeting

Teviot Valley Community Board member Gill Booth. Photo: Supplied
Teviot Valley Community Board member Gill Booth. Photo: Supplied
Tempers flared at a community board meeting in Roxburgh yesterday with the chairman saying he was not comfortable being represented at a conference by the only member offering to go and the member later saying she was "willing to be appalling" if it helped the community.

Money had been budgeted for the Teviot Valley Community Board to send a member to the Local Government New Zealand conference.

Central Otago District councillor Sally Feinerman, who is also on the board, would be going in her council role.

Chairman Norman Dalley said he thought Mrs Feinerman’s attendance would suffice.

Board member Russell Read agreed with Mr Dalley but board member Gill Booth disagreed.

She offered to go and self-fund rather than use board money.

Sally Feinerman
Sally Feinerman
Ms Booth has clashed with fellow board members in the past over her views on local government, property ownership and conspiracy theories.

Mr Dalley said he was not "comfortable" with her attending the conference.

"To be honest Gill, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with you going to represent us.

"I think that Sally can well represent and I wouldn’t support us being represented by yourself," Mr Dalley said.

"That’s fine, I’m quite comfortable with that," Ms Booth said.

All three board members voted that just Mrs Feinerman would attend.

Tensions grew during the chairman’s report.

Mr Dalley said he had been busy with meetings and responding to queries about the annual plan.

The weekend after the annual plan submissions closed he was "inundated" with people dropping their submissions off at his home.

"This really irked me."

Mr Dalley said he thought it was unfair he had not been warned that Ms Booth had told people to deliver their submissions to his home.

Ms Booth apologised but Mr Dalley continued.

"Eight o’clock on Sunday night you turned up with eight [submissions].

"Those were solicited by you as a board member."

Norman Dalley
Norman Dalley
Ms Booth said she would take responsibility for that.

"We want to get people absolutely engaged in the council process, people were angry, they were upset," she said.

"A lot of the older people were quite frightened and, you know, they have every right to be prompted into working in this system."

Ms Booth assured him everyone had written their own submission.

"People thought you were fully engaged in the process and thought it was a good thing [to drop the submissions at his house]," she said.

Mr Dalley said he was fully engaged in the process but it did not need to become a personal issue.

"Totally unacceptable behaviour," he said.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said he absolutely agreed with Mr Dalley.

"Sending people to someone’s personal home is an appalling action by a community board member."

Ms Booth remained unrepentant.

"I’m willing to be appalling if it means working for this community. This community that is getting screwed over with this 33% rates increase."