INVERCARGILL councillors have decided it was appropriate council’s chief executive Clare Hadley shared Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt’s email.
Its decision came after an independent review into the event by Robert Buchanan.
However, Sir Tim has asked for a further investigation as he believes the investigation has “swept the issue under the carpet”.
In April, Invercargill City Council (ICC) passed a resolution authorising Mrs Hadley to take the necessary steps to support deputy mayor Nobby Clark in his support of the mayor.
In August, Sir Tim told a Local Democracy Reporter he believed ICC chief executive Clare Hadley had accessed one of his emails and used it against him at a chairman’s meeting.
Following the declaration, Mrs Hadley issued a statement acknowledging she should have not shared the contents of the email.
ICC then approved $10,000 to undertake a review regarding electronic access to the mayor’s email account.
The report was formally received by councillors at the Risk and Assurance committee meeting yesterday.
In it, Mr Buchanan says the arrangements in place were lawful, but he could not reach a conclusion if the email could be considered a personal communication, as the resolution did not extend to purposes of media management.
“It is clear that the arrangements and the associated systems and processes are lawful and, by and large, appropriate…”
He said a degree of uncertainty came as he was unsure if the email could be deemed personal.
“That, in turn, makes it difficult to say whether the established systems and processes were followed with regard to the email.”
Deputy Mayor Nobby Clark said the governance situation at ICC was unique so measures to address that were put in place.
He believed it was the duty of staff and Mrs Hadley to inform ICC if they found any issue or wrongdoing from anyone which could be inaccurate or damaging to council staff.
“My view in all of this is that it was appropriate for the CE [chief executive] to bring forward that email and I know it has caused a little bit of angst among a couple of our colleagues, elected members, but the bottom line is we, as chair’s group, have tried on numerous occasions to encourage the mayor not to… make media statements that were inaccurate and damning dishonesty.
“His response is, he doesn’t care less.”
Sir Tim said he felt vindicated by the report and his understanding was Mr Buchanan identified the email as personal information.
As he believed the findings of the review were inconclusive, he asked for another with a broader scope to consider the lawfulness of the interceptions.
“The scope of the current review sought to sweep the issue under the carpet by focusing on arrangements in place rather than the actions of the CE.”
Cr Clark said he would oppose a further review due to further cost and said if Sir Tim was not satisfied with Mrs Hadley’s apology, he had other options.
Cr Rebecca Amundsen proposed to include a recommendation which states the chief executive’s actions in sharing the email with council’s chairs group was an appropriate action as per the findings of the report. Councillors voted in support of the amendment with Sir Tim abstaining from the vote.