Jobs lost in contract change
The woman who helped run the Taihape Swim Centre for 19 years is mystified over missing out on the new contract from Rangitı¯kei District Council .
Taihape woman Buzz Clarke’s tender for the job in the upcoming season was rejected by the council in favour of Palmerston Northbased outfit West End Aquatics, run by Trevor Nicholls.
Clarke was involved with helping run the 22-week season at the pool when the Taihape Community Development Trust had the contract.
She put in a tender when the trust ceased its involvement a short time ago. But she lost out to Nicholls, throwing herself and eight staff out of work at the centre - and says she still doesn’t know why.
‘‘I’ve had no feedback at all,’’ she said.
What she did get was an email from council chief executive Ross McNeil, saying the decision ‘‘wasn’t made lightly’’.
McNeil said the decision ‘‘reflects council’s desire to invest in the level of the swimming pool service for the Taihape area’’.
Clarke said she was unsure what this meant because she made clear she was offering the same level of service at the pool as had been the case in past years.
‘‘I made sure we were compliant with the rules and regulations.’’
As far as she knew there was no dissatisfaction with the way she ran things at the centre, or if there was, it hadn’t been made known to her or her team.
Clarke said she offered ’’a really good, affordable price’’ to the council to run the centre.
She wanted to thank the community for its support for the centre.
‘‘They make it live and breathe,’’ she said.
In a media release on October 20, the council said the October 12 decision to award the contract to Nicholls and his team was made in the knowledge he would be looking locally for people to work at the centre.
Nicholls has been running the Marton Swim Centre for the past five years.
McNeil said the decision was part of the council’s ‘‘procurement process’’ after the community trust relinquished its contract.
There has been a major upgrade of the pools’ filtration and heating systems, costing about$500,000.
The new season will open on November 18.
Swim instructor Buzz Clarke with Zachary Dorn and Amelia Player, at the Taihape Swim Centre in 2016