Having been elected on a platform to sort out Auckland Council, you’d expect a mayor to kick butt and take names. Not so.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is recommending that councillors adopt a raft of new and improved accountability tools to significantly strengthen scrutiny of Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), including Auckland Transport (AT).
“Strengthening the oversight of the CCOs, including AT, will result in solutions that are better aligned to the outcomes Aucklanders want. That includes easing congestion on our roads, the development of an effective and efficient public transport system and the protection and enhancement of our natural environment and communities as we bring large infrastructure projects online,” said Mayor Goff.
At Thursday’s Governing Body meeting, the Mayor will recommend that councillors no longer be automatically appointed to the AT board by virtue of their roles as elected representatives. Instead, councillors should be eligible to take part in a transparent and competitive application process that is also open to external candidates.
“Aucklanders want Council to have greater scrutiny and control over CCOs and the feedback I have received from many councillors shows that they share those concerns.
“The practice of simply appointing two councillors to a board of eight directors has not been effective in achieving adequate accountability or responsiveness from AT.
“Therefore I am recommending that all future directors be appointed on merit in an open and competitive process to ensure we get the right mix of skills, knowledge and experience to deliver the best outcomes for Auckland. That includes financial and governance expertise as well as the requirement to act in the best interests of the Shareholder, Auckland Council, on behalf of the people of this city.
“I am recommending the introduction of a suite of new and improved measures to address community concerns about the lack of accountability. Some of these powers, including the introduction of Operating Rules for AT, have never previously been exercised by Council,” said Mayor Goff.
The Mayor’s proposal includes:
– introducing new rules for AT to determine how its governing body must operate;
– modifying CCOs’ Statements of Intent to better meet Council objectives;
– undertaking a comprehensive review of accountability policies;
– developing fresh, comprehensive Letters of Expectation for all CCOs; and
– strengthening Council committees’ ability to scrutinise CCOs’ achievement of their outcomes.
Recommending and proposing the bureaucracy curtail itself. Willingly.
Because, you know, the ratepayers want it.
I’ve had a lot of feelings and thoughts about Phil over the decades. But I never expected him to start phoning it in so early into the job.