ICC releases report from meeting

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Independent governance expert Bruce Robertson, Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt and Invercargill City Council chief executive Clare Hadley during a meeting last week.

INVERCARGILL City Council (ICC) is determined to show its proactive approach following intervention by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

It released the reports discussed at a public-excluded meeting last week and its response to the DIA’s letter.

It comes after ICC revealed last week the department had sent a letter to the council asking for information so it could provide advice to Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta on what action she might take under Part 10 of the Local Government Act.

Part 10 allows the minister to assist or intervene in local authority matters if necessary.

The department raised concerns in the letter, following recent media coverage of the council’s activities.

Internal Affairs ministerial advice, monitoring and operations director Anita Balakrishnan had written a letter last month to Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt and chief executive Clare Hadley on behalf of the department raising concerns about “significant conflict [identified] among elected representatives and the chief executive at Invercargill City Council”.

In her response, Mrs Hadley outlined a framework for the plan and said the ICC would prepare a list of candidates for council to commission someone to undertake the evaluation of the current standard of governance performance.

This is in addition to Bruce Robertson’s role as independent governance expert.

The plan also asked councillors to provide feedback on the key issues they saw as impacting the council’s performance.

She also said management senior staff, mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt and councillors had met twice since receiving the DIA letter and the public-excluded meetings were allow for free and frank exchange of views”.

Training on the council’s roles, along with standing orders and meeting procedures would be part of their plan, she said.

According to the report, the council would have until today to send all their comments and feedback to enable the development of an overall plan which would be considered at the next council meeting tomorrow.

“You will see from the dates incorporated into the resolution and from the appendices to the report that the council has committed to addressing the matters swiftly.

“It is intended that by Friday of next week [September 4], council will be in a position to commission the evaluation of current standard of governance performance and to provide responses to you on the remaining matters you have requested,” Mrs Hadley added.

While the work continues, a council spokeswoman said it was “business as usual for ICC’s day-to-day operations and services”.

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