January 24, 2013
Environment Southland chair Ali Timms has survived a vote of confidence which was called after she made a prank call to Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt on a radio show.
The vote was 7-5, which included her own vote.
That means the council is split 6-5 on her suitability as chair which means the council is only just confident.
December 13, 2012
In a week when the news is full of the fallout from Australian DJs hoax call to a hospital you’d think everyone would think twice before pretending to be someone they weren’t.
Not Environment Southland chair Ali Timms.
Environment Southland chairman Ali Timms is on leave following an “unacceptable lapse of judgement”. . .
. . . acting chairman Nicol Horrell has issued the following statement: “Councillors have unanimously expressed our extreme disapproval of the unacceptable lapse of judgement shown by Chairman Ali Timms in taking part in the Invercargill City Council’s televised talkback programme under an assumed name last week.
“Councillors have accepted Cr Timms’ application for six weeks leave of absence, effective immediately. We expect to hold an Extraordinary meeting of Council to consider the Council’s Chairmanship in late January.”
This might speak volumes about the relationship between the regional and city councils but it doesn’t reflect well on Timms either.
We all have lapses of judgement but fortunately for most of us, we’re not public figures and they happen in private.
November 6, 2012
Environment Southland is undergoing an independent legal audit of its compliance processes:
Chief Executive Rob Phillips said today that in light of recent allegations in the media, it was essential that there was public confidence that all of the Council’s regulatory practices were sound, and that the processes for taking compliance action were robust.
“Prosecutions are an essential part of our compliance activity, particularly where there has been a serious breach of the law, a regulation or a rule,” Mr Phillips said. “Everyone needs to be confident that compliance action is based on sound processes that have been carried out with integrity.” . . .
And what were those allegations in the media?
The move follows stories in the The Southland Times involving two separate incidents – one surrounding allegations that Environment Southland compliance officer Chris McMillan altered a statement from police after a stock truck sting, and the other where senior Invercargill lawyer Rex Chapman told The Times Mr McMillan effectively acknowledged under cross examination in court the council’s original written case against a farm owner and manager it was prosecuting contained statements that were not true.
Regional councils act as environmental police and wield wide-ranging powers.
Their processes and staff must be above reproach.
January 20, 2012
A fixed term contract is just that and employers have the option of renewing it or not.
But why has Environment Southland not taken the option of extending the term of its CEO Ciaran Keogh for another two years when it appears there were no problems with his performance?
At least one councillor appears less than supportive of the move.
Recruitment is not an inexpensive business and seeking a new CEO wouldn’t normally be done without very good reason when the option of extending his term was available.
May 26, 2009
Environment Southland’s Long Term Community Plan proposes imposing a dairy differnetial of $1.08 million to finance more compliance staff, monitoring programmes, stock effluent disposal sites, land sustainability programmes and a new regional discharge plan.
Is this user pays or an attempt to get dairy farmers to finance more than their fair share of the council’s expansion?
Federated Farmers’ submission says many of its dairy members felt the rate was the regional council’s way of expanding its programmes while insulating the general ratepayer against the effects of an increased rate take.
DairyNZ recommends a partnership between the council and the dairy industry to resolve resource management issues.
That would provide the council with resources from DairyNZ’s own science, local farmer knowledge and dairy industry policy staff, its submission says.
Dairy farmers must pay their fair share of the costs associated with the environmental impact of their business but this looks like the council is playing a growing game and wants farmers to pay for it.
DairyNZ’s proposal would get the results without the need for the regional council to expand its empire at farmers’ expense.