Dale Evans reflects on a visit to Council

I have been mulling over the weekend what happened at the recent Kāpiti Council meeting.

At the meeting, during public speaking time, I attempted to raise issues regarding the performance of the CEO. However I was shut down and prevented from raising these important issues because, it was said, I was not allowed to under standing orders.

It is quite obvious after going through the model standing orders and code of conduct that each Councillor is given upon been elected into office – there is nothing which tells me that I can not ask questions regarding staff and the performance of the CEO.

Gavin Welsh who chaired the Corporate Business Meeting could have referred to the CEO himself for comment and the Mayor, who stood up and started to cover for the CEO, was in my view out of order. Cr Welsh should have put a point of order and ask him to sit down – this did not happen.

I have been in contact with Local Government New Zealand and from what I am told there is nothing in the legislation to stop me from asking questions regarding the CEO’s performance and staff issues, particularly when it effects our current debt – which I am told is now $180 million.

At the meeting Mayor Church did say to me that he would personally phone me regarding these issues that I had raised. His phone call would have been a courtesy at least to inform me, this has not yet happened. I might add he also stated that I should direct the questions directly to him as he is responsible for the CEO and staff.

It is very hard not to mention the Councillors names when querying the decision making and wanting answers. If one looks back to candidates campaigning before the election to be voted in, Ross Church – the Mayor said he would be available (Have an Open office) in the lobby, desk ready to talk to people on any issues that may occur. I feel as though I for one have been gagged as the information I am requesting is quite sensitive but the Community at large should know. Particularly the CEO’s past performance has been less than satisfactory and one would have thought should be more accountable. If we want changes it is the time now to make them and those on Council who were elected to practice what they preached.

If you look at this last meeting, it is quite obvious this is not going to happen – and it is not going to be good for the future of Kāpiti. We don’t want a Mayor who is just ceremonial but we need one that is ‘Actions speaks louder than words’ who will lead by example.