Are KCDC Staff Afraid Of Review?

Media expert and Otaki resident Cathy Strong says that on the surface it appears KDCD staff are balking at a review of their efficiency, or lack of.

An independent review of council’s organisation was requested by elected members, who are the ones meant to oversee the governance of council and how it spends our rates.   

And it is on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting (June 27) Council Meeting. 

But the public background document is written in a way to put a negative spin on steps to get an independent overview of how council is run. 

The background document spends 97 words outlining why there should be a review, and 220 words pointing out why the review should be scrapped.   That is more than double the space arguing against a review.  

The review would assess  “the capacity and capability of the organisation to deliver the Council’s objectives in a cost effective and efficient manner”, according to the meeting agenda document. 

Council’s Corporate Advisor Ian Clements, who wrote the position paper, lists reasons to prevent a review as it might harm council’s reputation and be extra work for staff.  

What the position paper neglected to explain was that KCDC already has a tarnished reputation — the NZ Auditor-General’s Office confirmed it has the second-highest debt of all councils in the country. What the position paper neglected to explain was that KCDC already has a tarnished reputation — the NZ Auditor-General’s Office confirmed it has the second-highest debt of all councils in the country. 

In addition, it has the highest staff expenses per capita of 11 councils in the lower North Island.   

Spending $28 million a year on staff expenses is quite high for a council this size.

These seem pretty compelling reasons to review council’s organisational efficiency.

The staff-prepared backgrounder estimates a review of its efficiency would take almost two months just to find someone to do it, and could cost up to half-a-million dollars, although admitting it is hard to estimate the cost.  

However, the challenge for the public would be how committed are KCDC to a transparent and accountable review which would go a long way to preventing more rates increases for individual home owners.  

(Cathy Strong

Otaki Ratepayer)

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