MEETING WITH COUNCIL

How did you feel about the meeting on Saturday 12 May?

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RURU REGRETS - Legal Eagle 17.05.12

Will Steve Ruru the day when he threw in his lot with the KDC?  Some think so.

You have to feel sorry for Steve Ruru. At the meeting on Saturday he looked like a man who has backed the wrong horse, or like an engineer on a rusting old hulk racing around fixing all the holes in a vain attempt to stop the ship sinking.

He coped well in a very difficult situation. But Steve is used to all this. He went through a very similar process in the 13 years he was with Thames Coromandel District Council. He oversaw the implementation of a sewerage scheme that spiralled out of control cost wise, with claims of council not complying with the LGA.

Ring a bell?

But Steve left Thames Coromandel with a lot of respect.  See the comments here.

Steve's big problem is that he inherited the throne of an autocratic, incompetent Chief Executive who had left skeletons in every cupboard.  Steve should have ripped into the place with independent forensic examinations of every aspect of Council.  He could then have established a cut-off point to show the shambles that existed before he arrived on the scene.  By not doing that he has muddied the waters and put himself at risk.

He also needs to be straight up, not embellish or mislead.  That is hard when you are trying convince ratepayers that they have to foot the bill for Council's incompetence and pay twice for a sewerage scheme.

Steve has clearly adopted the view of most Chief Executives that the Council is always right, even though it is incompetent or acts illegally, and that ratepayers always have to end up paying regardless of the legality or the equity of the situation. But this time the ratepayers of Kaipara have alot more ammo up their sleeves.  The KDC has acted outside the law for years and got away with it. It is still doing it.  It is over 6 months late adoting the annual report for 2010/11.  That is afundamnental breach of the LGA and undermines the legality of the draft LTP which is supposed to bee based on the annual report.  The draft LTP is a complete farce. It makes a mockery of the requirements of the LGA requirements, of the decision-making requirements, and of the four wellbeings of the community that should underpin the plan.  The LTP is nothing more than an extortion device that has no basis in law.  It is put together by a bunch of number crunchers who basically, blind-folded, threw darts at the board to see who would cop the burden of making up the 31% deficit.

Steve knows that and I am sure that he feels very uncomfortable with it.  The problem that he faces is that he has no room to manoeuvre.  There is a tight deadline to get everything through by 1 July and any substantial amendments to the plan are not feasible.  Likewise, if council is to balance its budget, which it is required to do by law, then any concessions in one area will mean that someone else has to pay.

Steve has dug his toes in and refused to sign the letter of compliance for the 2010/11 annual report.  He has to confirm things about the status of Council that he is not comfortable with.  I believe that it is now the time that Steve takes another step forward. He knows that Council is dead in the water and that it is just a question of time.

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Steve Sosich   16.05.12

Some photos attached (see here) and my feelings about the meeting also.

Firstly I must congratulate Clive on his presentation of the whole sordid affair to the masses at the meeting on Saturday. It was done in such an uncomplicated and succinct manner that many people’s eyes were truly opened to the deceitful actions of the KDC.

It was also fantastic to see such a great turnout by the residents and ratepayers and the passion of some of them to the cause.

The presentation by council, Ruru and Geange in particular, however was a joke.

I feel that all they were there to do was to comply with their responsibilities and requirements in having to present the LTP to theratepayers.

They were not there to listen to the concerns of ratepayers and the question and answer time at the end was laughable.

Ratepayer’s submissions will, of course, be sent in. But who really thinks they will be considered in good faith by council, and who really thinks that the council will back down given the goings on of the last few years?......

I don't.

Ratepayers must not give KDC the opportunity to try and resolve these problems themselves and all ratepayers must stop paying their rates immediately so as to force external independent agencies to take over and try to sort the mess out.

As I stated (yelled) at the meeting , the only questions that needed to be asked had to be asked of ourselves, the ratepayers.

Are we prepared as a community to stand up against the KDC and stop paying our rates? I am!! And I am aware of a few others that have already

stopped paying.

However ¨a few¨ is just not going to cut it. If we do not all make the effort then the council will detonate their rates bomb on our community andthen what happens after that????

Cheers

Steve Sosich

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Legal Eagle: THE TRUTH COMES OUT 14.05.12
I think that many ratepayers were surprised to hear the revelations about Council's devious, underhand and illegal dealings over the EcoCare proposals.

One has to ask: Who was aware of the illegalities?

Jack McKerchar certainly was. If he didn't know, then he should not have been in the job.

Beca must have known, surely?  They are experts in the field and highly paid advisers to the Council. They are the ones that came up with the proposal to extend the scheme. Did they not know the law?

And what about the lawyers who were involved. A fortune was spent on all the legal documentation modifying a scheme that was a significant asset.

Are we to believe that the it did not occur to the lawyers that his was a fundamental breach of the law?

And what of the financiers and contractors? They are not new to this game. Compliance with the law and regulations is a major part in negotiating major contracts with councils. Why did they not check or insist on confirmation that there had been full compliance with the law?

So many intelligent, competent people, experts in their fields, yet not one of them knew the basic rule that what they were doing was illegal unless they consulted with ratepayers.  Or did they know?

Were they so arrogant that they thought that they could get away with it?

Were they comforted by the blinkered approach of Council's auditors and the incredible latitude given by the government watchdogs that allowed them to bend or ignore the obligatory requirements of the LGA?

As for the Councillors, they were a bunch of ignoramus's who followed Jack McKerchars' dictates as if he were the Pied Piper or some mystical Eastern guru. They turned off their brains. They abandoned all the reponsibilites and trust that are vested in them as Councillors.

Leagle Eagle: DEPUTY MAYOR GEANGE 14.05.12
Last week Deputy Mayor Geange broke ranks and pleaded that she was not responsible for the secret and illegal EcoCare contract as she was not a Councillor at that stage. However, as this website pointed out, she was in fact a Councillor at the time the contract was signed in 2007.

Deputy Mayor Geange told me at the meeting on Saturday that although she was present at the Council meeting that approved the signing of the contract, she did not personally vote in favour of the contract being signed.

Really? Votes at Council meetings are simply taken on a voice vote, muttered at different volumes. It is impossible to tell who votes. No abstentions or votes against were recorded. Deputy Mayor Geange is asking us to believe that she kept quiet when the call to vote came. Mmmmm.

Deputy Mayor Geange is the de facto leader of Council. She is the driving force behind all Council's attitudes and decisions. She has made out that she was an opponent to Jack McKerchar but the reality is that it was her support that enabled Jack McKerchar to to continue his dictatorship. She is also the one that has driven the secretiveness of Council and voted against Councillor's Larsen's motion for Councillors to have access to legal opinions obtained by Council. Why on earth would a Deputy Mayor want to deny Councillor's access to legal opinions?

But the interesting thing is that Deputy Mayor Geange is running for cover and leaving the other Councillors in the lurch. What about Councillors Tiller (as he was then) and Sutherland. They also voted in favour of the illegal contract being signed. Or did they too keep their lips sealed when the "Ayes" were being muttered?