Mayor will no longer recognise business group

Tim Cadogan
Tim Cadogan

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan has made a dramatic departure from the Alexandra Clyde and Districts Business Group, announcing he is cutting ties with it because of what he says are legal irregularities of the group and a ''slap in the face'' to efforts to build a positive relationship with the group.

Mr Cadogan said he had emailed a letter to the business group's secretary last week, advising he would be terminating his relationship with the group and asking that the letter be forwarded to all group members.

Mr Cadogan said he understood the letter had not been forwarded, so he emailed it yesterday to more than 500 people in the business and wider Alexandra and Clyde community.

He said he had not taken the action lightly and regretted having to do so, but felt he had no choice because of the group's behaviour.

Mr Cadogan said he had gone to ''great lengths to improve what could only be generously described as a difficult relationship between the office of the mayor and the Vincent Community Board and the ACDBG''.

He and Vincent Community Board (VCB) members Brian Fitzgerald and Russell Garbutt had ''actively engaged'' with the group, one of them always attending the group's meetings. This had proven ''very positive in my view, with many historic misunderstandings and even grievances addressed and positive ways of working together moving forward found'', Mr Cadogan said.

However, the trio had now been advised that non-committee members would be welcome only at every second fortnightly meeting, plus the breakfast meetings, Mr Cadogan said.

''This was done with no discussion or warning to myself, Brian or Russell ... and came as an absolute slap in the face to the efforts made to build a positive relationship over the last year.

''I do not see how this action can in any way be seen as fulfilling the aims of the group ... For these reasons, I am disengaging from the group, as I do not believe it actually represents the businesses of Alexandra and Clyde, and the actions as shown above reflect that. I will continue to actively engage with leaders of commerce in the Alexandra-Clyde area and the district as a whole for the betterment of the district, but will no longer recognise any standing of the ACDBG in its current form.''

In addition, those who attended the group's AGM on September 14 were advised a new committee had been nominated, advised who that committee was and then asked to vote on that committee as a whole being appointed, Mr Cadogan said.

''This is in breach of several clauses of the rules of the group, including 7.1 (nominations for members of the committee were not called for 28 days prior to the meeting as required) and Rule 21.4, which requires the secretary to give written notice of nominees for the committee prior to the meeting.

''In addition, the group is in breach of its own rules (Rule 5.1(b)) in not voting at the AGM on who would be chair, secretary and treasurer, rather leaving those appointments up to the committee.

''As a consequence of these actions, I do not believe that the current structure of the group has legal standing and I will not give it credibility by engaging with the group as it currently stands.''

When approached for comment, business group president Barry Hambleton said the group had received Mr Cadogan's letter and discussed it at a meeting last week, when it decided the letter needed to be forwarded to the group's management committee.

The group already planned to discuss the letter again tomorrow and then reply to Mr Cadogan.

Mr Hambleton confirmed Mr Cadogan's letter had not yet been forwarded to all members of the group, but said he thought Mr Cadogan had ''jumped the gun'' by distributing his letter to the public.

Mr Hambleton declined to comment further on the issue.


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