Question over family appointment
Deputy mayor Liz Kelly has refused to discuss the employment process that led to the appointment of son-in-law Stu Filo to a $38,000 social work contract.
Kapi-Mana News reported last week that Mr Filo was employed by Cannons Creek’s Fanau Centre as the sole youth worker for the revived Midnight Express youth outreach scheme. Ms Kelly manages the Fanau Centre.
Both Porirua mayor Nick Leggett and councillor Litea Ah Hoi have since expressed concern whether Mr Filo was hired fairly.
Midnight Express was run by Porirua Healthy Safer Cities Trust until its funding was frozen in late 2011. The service lay dormant until recent weeks, when the Fanau Centre was awarded the remaining $38,000 funds by the Ministry of Social Development.
On Mr Filo’s appointment, Ms Kelly told us that she invited him to return to New Zealand from a military posting in the Middle East and apply for the job. She said she stood back from the actual hiring process.
But when Kapi-Mana News contacted Ms Kelly last week, she refused to comment on whether the job was advertised, whether any other applicants were considered, and what Mr Filo’s qualifications for the role were.
Fanau Centre board members we contacted either refused to comment on the appointment or could not be reached.
Mr Filo himself expressed surprise at the allegations but said he did not have time between youth work appointments to discuss the matter on Friday.
Mr Leggett, whose political relationship with Ms Kelly has soured in recent months, says the lack of transparency around Mr Filo’s appointment is not a good look for the city.
‘‘I think these kind of appointments need to be ‘squeaky clean’ in terms of the process, especially given Liz’s role as a councillor who pulled this funding away from its existing operation,’’ he says.
‘‘We now have questions emerging like ‘was the job advertised correctly? What were the internal processes followed?’’
He says Mr Filo appears to be a good choice for the role, and the Fanau Centre is an appropriate provider of the Midnight Express service, but light needs to be shone on the appointments.
The Fanau Centre was the only organisation to bid for the Midnight Express funding, Porirua Healthy Safer Cities Trust chairwoman Jenny Lester says. The Ministry of Social Development were solely responsible for awarding the funds, she says.
A Ministry of Social Development spokesperson says the ministry is not responsible for employment matters and referred questions to Ms Kelly.
There are indications the ministry did not require project plans from the Fanau Centre before handing it the Midnight Express contract, says Mr Leggett.