by Cathy Strong
On analysis it appears KCDC staff are actually balking at a review of their efficiency, or lack of it.
The independent review of council’s organisation was apparently requested by elected members, who are the ones meant to oversee the governance of council and how it spends our rates.
It is on the agenda for tomorrow’s 27 June Council Meeting.
But the background document is written in a way to put a negative spin on an independent overview of how the 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 [reproduced in full in Monday’s post].
The Council’s Corporate Advisor, Ian Clements, who wrote the paper, lists in the reasons to oppose a review that it might harm council’s reputation and be extra work for staff.
What the paper neglected to state 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.
Its spending $28 million a year on staff expenses is 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 admits it is hard to estimate the cost. [Cr Cootes stated in a Facebook post he has been told an accurate figure is $75-$100 K, which seems a lot more realistic. —Eds]
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 homeowners.