Details from the Tauranga City Council’s website, (and reported on Sunlive; ‘Council seeking leadership expert for committee’, January 13) is an admission that council’s lost the plot, apparently having nobody within the elected members or TCC bureaucracy ranks that can safely handle the finance portfolio.
Well councillor John Robson, who chaired the Finance Committee 2013-2016, then 2018-2019 started to exercise control and is certainly well qualified but because Mayor Tenby doesn’t want that he’s banished to ‘Siberia’ with $90,000-plus salary wasted.
Additionally Council already has a CEO, chief financial officer, treasurer, city general managers and Mayor himself all claiming to have financial nous – not so apparently!
Under Mayor Tenby’s brainwave the appointee is to be unelected with voting rights receiving $50,000 pa and that, morally, in my view, is ultra vires mandate from TCC voters regarding governance.
Looks to me like some TCC sycophant has already been ‘shoulder tapped’. Does anyone seriously think for one moment Tauranga citizens want any part of this charade? The short answer is hell no way!
A Finance Committee comprising all elected members, run in tandem with separate Risk and Audit Sub-Committee (plus independent adviser), to oversee and monitor Council staff and Mayoral aberrations/indulgences then reporting back to full Council means elected members would get quality independent advice with checks and balances ensuring the information floated is correct and accurate.
R Paterson, Mount Maunganui.
Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell responds:
The appointment of an independent chairperson for Tauranga City Council’s Finance, Audit and Risk Committee has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of confidence in the ability of elected members or staff to perform that role – it’s simply good business practice.
The New Zealand Auditor General recommends that councils have an experienced and independent chair oversee their auditing and risk activities, because it provides an additional level of scrutiny and assurance that the organisation’s financial policies, practices and performance are fit for purpose; and that any risks are recognised and managed.
This is new for Tauranga, but it’s relatively commonplace amongst New Zealand councils and is considered ‘best practice’ around the world.
There will be a cost involved, but experience elsewhere indicates that it will provide far-reaching benefits for the organisation and the community.