Member of board sacked
EDEN-ALBERT Community Board member Ryan Hicks has officially gone AWOL.
The 25-year-old was recorded as being absent without leave at the board’s monthly meeting for the fourth consecutive time last week.
Protocol says his absence without apology creates an extraordinary vacancy within the local authority, following his automatic standdown.
Democracy services group manager Christine Watson says because the vacancy has occurred within 12 months of the next election, the council does not have the power to call for a by election.
Eden-Albert board chairman Christopher Dempsey says the board will receive a report at this month’s meeting outlining its options which include filling the vacancy by appointing a suitable replacement, or leaving the seat empty.
He says because of Mr Hicks’ relative inexperience, he had tried to make sure he felt included, but says it soon became obvious he wasn’t interested in the role.
“He was press-ganged into standing by his dad and I don’t think he ever expected to win,” Mr Dempsey says.
“Clearly he didn’t want to be there and it showed. So in every sense, this is completely the best outcome.”
The New Windsor resident was the only Citizens & Ratepayers candidate to get elected to the board which services a population of about 65,000.
In 2007 he campaigned alongside his father Kevin Hicks, who unsuccessfully stood for the Auckland District Health Board.
Mr Hicks is the second elected representative to leave this year before fulfilling the term, following City Vision representative Elinor Harvey’s decision to resign in January.
However Eden-Albert councillor Cathy Casey says this is the first known example of the absent without leave standing orders being used by the council.
“Normally people have the good grace to apologise or if they’ve got circumstances of sickness, family trouble or loss of income and moving,” says Dr Casey.
“I’ve never heard of anyone not apologising and just dropping off the end as it were. By not turning up four times in a row he’s effectively sacked himself.”
Citizens & Ratepayers president John Slater says he became aware of the situation last week but has been unable to get in contact with Mr Hicks.
He says Mr Hicks’ time on the board has not been happy.
“City Vision has treated him quite shabbily. He has been poorly treated and it’s simply disgraceful,” he says.
“In the interests of fair play we will be responding about his maltreatment in the near future.”
For the community board Mr Hicks’ civic responsibilities included youth issues and activities within the suburb of St Lukes and he received an annual honorarium of $10,100.
His $380 fortnightly payments were stopped on Friday.
When contacted by the Central Leader, Mr Hicks declined to comment. Green has turned out to be a lucky colour for Linda Everett.
It was the colour of her first suit, given to her by the charity Dress for Success, and after wearing it to a job interview
Lucky outfit: Linda Everett still has this green suit, given to her 10 years ago by Dress for Success.