The Weekend Sun Column - 29th July 2016

JOHN ROBSON on Tauranga City Council...

Within weeks of being elected, I sawsigns of operational issues at TaurangaCity Council. 

These included:
  • The poor state of the staff workingenvironment - a stark contrast withthe Mayor’s and CE’s soon-upgradedreception area,
  • Windows XP (a 12 year-old operatingsystem) on the computer screen in theCouncillors’ lounge,
  • And a somewhat inconsistent andincoherent induction programme. 

As I engaged in the 2014/15 Annual Planbudgeting process, it was clear therewas no coherent strategy informing thedecision-making. 

The last time I had seen such a strategyvacuum was last century – in GeneralMotors – and that lack of strategyultimately led to General Motors’bankruptcy. 

But Councils don’t go bankrupt – theyjust take more money from ratepayers. 

The budgeting process confirmedproblems with the ‘managementinformation system’ – updating numbersin the budget required a high level ofmanual intervention which was slow,resource-intensive and introduced riskof error. 

All add to cost. 

There was also evidence of ‘advocacy’- instead of receiving objectiveinformation, there was bias – an obviousexample being the ‘political ’ labellingof budget options that were put beforeCouncillors.

Without a clear strategy – and qualityinformation – decisions to allocateresources will be compromised. 

And you will not get what the LocalGovernment Act says you have a right to– an effective and efficient Council. 

The strategy and associated operationalissues were, in my professional opinion,self-evident – sadly, it took over ayear before these issues were openlyacknowledged – in report DC186 - whichshould have made the front page of theBay of Plenty Times. 

But didn’t.

Next week – what was in DC186?

John Robson


This website is authorised by John Robson, 22 Sunny Downs Drive, Tauriko, Tauranga, 3110 - e-mail or call 021 443703.