Coun­cil ‘dou­ble dips’

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Janie Smith

A DE­CI­SION to use money from com­mu­nity board bud­gets to pay for a new Auck­land City Coun­cil staff mem­ber has been la­belled as “morally cor­rupt”.

The coun­cil al­lo­cated an ex­tra $500,000 in small lo­cal im­prove­ments fund­ing across the city’s 10 com­mu­nity boards this year and will pro­vide an­other $500,000 in the next fi­nan­cial year.

But the boards have been told by the coun­cil that it plans to take back $100,000 to pay for an ex­tra staff mem­ber to man­age the ex­tra projects the money is ex­pected to gen­er­ate.

Coun­cil­lor Graeme Mul­hol­land, who sits on the Mt Roskill Com­mu­nity Board, says boards al­ready pay ad­min­is­tra­tion costs on all their projects.

“To me, it’s dou­ble dip­ping. I’ve never heard of it be­fore,” he says.

Avon­dale, East­ern Bays, Maun­gakiekie, Mt Roskill, West­ern Bays and Ta­maki boards will have to con­trib­ute $10,670 each, Eden-Al­bert and Hob­son will give $12,004 each while Wai­heke will pay $6669 and Great Bar­rier $5335.

Mr Mul­hol­land says staff are nor­mally em­ployed by the coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, who has a bud­get for salaries.

He has ques­tioned whether the coun­cil has the au­thor­ity to use the money once is has been al­lo­cated to the boards.

“The coun­cil has granted this money out of its funds for com­mu­nity Slips fund­ing, which is then at the dis­cre­tion of the com­mu­nity boards. It’s morally cor­rupt.”

Mt Roskill Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Richard Barter says the money will come out of its op­er­a­tional ex­pen­di­ture, which cur­rently has a $50,000 bud­get.

How­ever, that money is needed to pay for scop­ing on cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture projects.

He says cut­ting the bud­get will ef­fec­tively limit the num­ber of cap­i­tal projects the board is able to un­der­take.

Boards al­ready pay an av­er­age of 20 per­cent in ad­min­is­tra­tion costs for each project.

West­ern Bays Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Bruce Kilmis­ter says the money has been taken with no re­gard for the boards.

“We are deeply up­set about it. I will be go­ing to the city de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee to ask them to re­scind it. It’s to­tally in­ap­pro­pri­ate.”

Eden-Al­bert Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Chris Dempsey says no one is im­pressed by the de­ci­sion.

He says it raises the spec­tre of bud­gets be­ing agreed to for spe­cific things and then changed to cover other ex­penses they were not orig­i­nally in­tended for.

Coun­cil en­vi­ron­men­tal and util­ity man­ager Grant Ock­le­ston says the $500,000 bud­get in­crease equates to around 23 ad­di­tional projects per year.

“A lot of work is re­quired to scope, man­age and de­liver each project, re­gard­less of dol­lar value.

“The op­tions con­sid­ered were to re­cruit an ad­di­tional team mem­ber or re­duce the ex­tra bud­get awarded to the com­mu­nity boards,” Mr Ock­le­ston says.

He says the boards are not pay­ing twice for the de­liv­ery man­age­ment as­pect of their projects.

“The project man­age­ment fees detailed in board re­ports are for the phys­i­cal de­liv­ery of in­di­vid­ual projects.”

He says team mem­bers iden­tify the peo­ple who will be im­pacted by the project and in­form and con­sult with them, make sure the project lines up with in­ter­nal poli­cies, iden­tify and man­age any prob­lems that arise with the project and defi the ac­tual project brief.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.