Does Len Brown even know what happens in his Council?

The Auckland Council is having to pay out over $300,000 for the actions of a bullying senior manager. Quite apart from the fact that the bully should be coughing out of his own pocket, after all it was he who did the bullying not the ratepayer, you have to wonder of Len Brown has actually got even a single clue as to what is going on inside his council.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Len Brown said the mayoral office was unaware of the matter and would not comment on employment matters.


Doesn’t Len Brown have a “no surprises” agreement with his Chief Executive?

Council chief executive Doug McKay said the matter was an employment issue that was subject to an investigation and had been resolved.

Mr McKay declined to comment on the payments to the two whistleblowers who resigned, and on other issues raised by the Weekend Herald.

I would have though that over $300,000 in payouts was a fucking big surprise, further I would hazard a guess that those amounts are way above normal sign of authority by the Chief Executive.


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  • Lion_ess

    Just Ratepayers money .. pffftt. If the person in question had to fund payouts resulting from bullying complaints against him, he’d probably be a much nicer fellow.

  • Greg

    Lens waiting at the station to catch the train.

  • ConwayCaptain

    That manager should be SACKED

    • Sadu

      Right on whale. This cunt effectively gets a 300 grand payrise and it’s all business as usual at the council? The council really is divorced from reality.

  • dragonfly

    This is a classically mishandled case of bullying. The bully keeps his job (and tragically we are having to pay for this arsehole) while two, probably great employees, leave. Also, just like paedophiles, bullies never change, especially if they are psychopaths, which this guy sounds to be. From what I read in the Herald the investigator, Penny Swarbrick, bought into his bullshit about how he didn’t mean to be a bully and she seemed to regard this as mitigation. The council should have engaged an investigator who is an expert in the subject of bullying, because this is an area in which it’s really easy to get things wrong.

  • baw

    The mayor and councillors do not employ any employees except for the chief executive. All other staff are employed by the Chief executive. The person who should be answering questions is the Chief executive, not the major. He is actually responsible for the staff not the mayor and councillors.

    • Callum

      The question Whale is asking is WHY wasn’t the mayor informed by the CEO, and what action is he going to take about that. The question also arises of if the CEO has the authority to settle an employment matter at that level of cost or if it should have been referred to the mayor and councillors.
      The mayor and councillors are responsible for monitoring the CEO so with something of this significance why do they seem to not have had the oversight ratepayers would have expected?

      • le sphincter

        Good point Councillor Calum Penrose

        • Callum

          Spell my name right FUCKWIT.
          By the way I don’t even live in Auckland so as usual you are full of shit.

          • Dave

            Callum, You might not live in Auckland But you are correct, the staff report to the CEO, just in a company structure, the CEO reports to the board, in this case the Mayor and councillors, who should at all times be aware of major issues affecting their city…… The Mayor should ALSO direct the CEO in relation to Policy, Strategy and to solve MAJOR issues with their guidance or instructions. For ratepayers, the buck stops with Loopy Len, in reality, the CEO is the Mayors whipping boy. Cant imagine Len giving instruction let alone with a Whip!!

          • le sphincter

            CEO was appointed by Hide and Ford before Brown won overwhelmingly at the ballot box.
            Mayor of council doesnt direct the CEO at all. The council as a whole makes POLICY, the mayor only names committee heads and sets outlines for the budget.

          • Dave

            Get with it LePoo Hole. I didn’t state who employed them, it was a chain of command, and IMPLEMENTATION of policy, not MAKING of policy. Suggest you actually read and take 5 minutes to consider.

  • Whafe

    These people whom are paid by rate payers are so so blase about spending other peoples money! Yet will am sure would piss n moan if that have to pay 99 cents for a lettuce…

    Makes me sick…

    You would think with the population gaining more and more knowledge of just how out of control most councils are that this would make there idiots pull their heads in??? NO no no no…

  • Really?

    It goes way beyond Dragicevich – Janis McArdle is the real bully.

    • Yes it is True

      Agree. most of the managers/leaders in IES are bully.

  • Really?

    There are more bullies than th one they investigated. Senior manager in environmental services is the real bulky.

    • Yes it is True

      Need investigating all the managers, majority are playing survival card.

  • Loyal Colleague

    My former colleague who worked for councils environmental services unit was victim of a drug-assisted sexual assault – (after friday work drinks).  In the weeks that followed (when she was able to talk to me before she entered mediation) …this is some of what I know happened to her:

    – she was offered special leave and then it was later withdrawn
    – after disclosing to some work mates that she feared she was raped (which as research shows is a common response) she was told that “people feel uncomfortable and it would be helpful if she could tell them that the forensic / police results were back and nothing happened”
    – she was told that on return to work her desk would have been moved (so as not to startle when people walked up behind her) – it wasn’t and she had to move her desk and phone by herself
    – Janis McArdle refused to accept an ADHB medical certificate from pohutukawa clinic for accute stress disorder
    – when she collapsed at work and spent night in cardiology ward with an irregular heart – McArdle told other staff that she was nuts and probably faked the collapse with two cups of coffee
    – when McArdle was told that a person of interest to police in the drug-rape investigation worked for stormwater unit – no appropriate consideration was given to her situation 
    – I hope she also got $150k …

    • Whafe

      Be best that Len I am a Dick Brown does a little investigation into this sort of behaviour in his council… Sounds like a cluster fuck…. A few managers may well be sweating one would think..

      • Dave

        Loopy Len is not a leader, he is a shy withdrawn prick who struggles to manage let alone lead. Bullying and intimidation is rife where leadership is poor. Sure, most of this is from Waitakere times, but Len and his senior Exec had an opportunity. An Opportunity to MAKE a STAND and clearly and unequivocally announce Bullying or/and intimidation WILL NOT be tolerated in any form. But, he didn’t, his exec didn’t, and we can only HOPE he is tossed out very soon.

        Loyal Colleague, I sincerely hope your ex colleague got the compensation she deserved, and the low life who raped and bullied her finds justice at the end of a pitch fork – preferably in his groin.

        • Forgiveness

          Please see Paula Penfold’s comment on this site regarding the police investigation. It could have been any of hundreds of people that crossed my path that night. Unfortunately I will never know. Please be careful out there – never let your drink out of sight. It is an under-reported crime (and now I know why!)

    • Ratepayer

      This is another example how power hungry managers behaved. Some managers attitudes is: “I have the power, you listen me” . Common guys you are paid to provide service to rate payers.

    • Appalled

      This is true. She was on 60 mins last week (disguised). How council treated her was disgusting. They should make good.

    • Concerned

      From what I know of this situation, there needs to be a few facts put forward for this discussion.

      Firstly, you have the wrong position title for the alleged accused. The title you refer to is actually held by a woman and has no involvement in this situation what so ever.

      Secondly, the police investigated your friends concerns and found no basis to lay any charges. Does that mean anything at all to you. Such incidents cannot be investigated by council, they are criminal matters with the responsible parties being contained in the judicial system.

      The matter that did get investigated by council was the sexual harrasment of a council staff member by your female friend. Your friend was repeatedly asked to stop such behaviour to no avail.

      Your friend needs love, support and help and I would recommend your energy be spent supporting her rather than making ill informed satements on this site.

      • Hey bully fuck off

        This is bullshit.
        Firstly – what title?
        Secondly, my friend withdrew police investigation of her own freewill – before “person of interest” was investigated. She did this as she felt she couldn’t recall enough – and didn’t want to put her “former friend” through that process if he was innocent.
        She never requested council to invesitage her drug-rape. She simply (on advise of the police) let council know that the person who had lodged a harrassment complaint – was a person of interest to them.
        It was not a sexual harrassment complaint. Simply a harrasment complaint – from someone that was a good friend up until the Monday after the assault – (this person had drinks at her invitation on the Friday night of the assault) – on the Monday they randomly said “I don’t want to be friends anymore” and subsequently lodged a harrassment complaint – which was never investigated bu council or upheld.
        My friend does need love and support – today she is upset, crying, suicidal at these comments. So the best you could do is spend your time doing your fucking job at council and leave her well alone. The bullying continues.

      • Wow

        What a load of shit.

      • Paula Penfold

        Concerned: if you want to correct facts, you might start with some of your own. It is incorrect to say the police investigated and found no basis to lay any charges. What in fact happened was that the police closed their investigation due to lack of evidence. That is quite a different matter to finding “no basis” for charges. It is a frequent outcome in such cases – that the complainant doesn’t come forward until it’s too late to gather the appropriate evidence. That does not mean no crime was committed. In this case, patently a crime was committed, and the police are on the record on 60 Minutes saying so.

      • Mags

        I can speak for the matter of harassment. The police advised the victim to tell council that a staff member was a person of interest to police – and to keep that on consideration (which they never did). The person who had drinks with the victim on the night of the assault – came to work the nextonday and informed victim that he no longer wished to be friends. When she told him he was a fuckin loser – he laid harassment complaint. Double whammy!

      • Confirm

        I can confirm – no harassment complaint was investigated or upheld.

      • WBNZ

        Dear ‘Concerned’…well obviously you are totally misinformed and ignorant to the situation of the victim ‘Loyal Colleague’ has described. The full facts are that ESU management disputed the valid medical certificates from Cardiology and AHDB…please note ESU management are NOT Medical Doctors …Instead of supporting the victim through what must have been a devastating personal crisis ESU management further bullied the victim enabling the victim to be packaged out with a legal silence clause to cover up thier bullying and lack of following any HR process. So “Concerned’ Get YOUR facts straight…that case aside there’s many staff transferred and left ESU to escape the toxic bullying culture and dysfunctional behaviours of the management. Nasty place to be ESU, you poor sods still working in it…Glad I escaped is all i can say.

      • Forgiveness

        This is untrue and was hurtful. I have invited Doug McKay to commission and independent investigation (with my involvement) into any claims / complaints about me.  I have nothing to hide an will happily cooperate. 

  • sheppy

    They should sack the lot of them and start again. The first interview question when recruiting new workers should be:
    “Thus far the Auckland supercity council has been legendary for wasting money and increasing rates whilst not being accountable to anyone or for that matter improving anything that the majority of Aucklanders use. If you were leader of the council name 5 things that you would change to cut costs without negatively impacting any services used by the MAJORITY of Aucklanders”

  • Ex Council Worker

    I used to work for waitakere city council where this guy used to work. He was well known for his bullying and stand over tactics. The only hope I had of the super city was to see him and the other well protected senior staff take a hike. No such luck and most of those managers looked after each other and were reappointed…hence the council culture is totally crap with demoralized hard working staff.

  • Environment concerns

    I used to work for this department at council also. It’s a circus. A bunch of senior managers getting off on their egos and silly power games! No wonder our environment is suffering – our city’s environmental caretakers have taken their eye off the ball!

  • Gazzaw

    There seem to be enough first time posters here with a lot of insight on what’s going on in the Dragecivic’ empire. C’mon guys give it some real oxygen so that WO can lift the lid. And I’m sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Corporate bullying doesn’t exist in isolation, it morphs into a culture that pervades the whole organisation.

    • Overflow

      Too right. One rock to turn would be a look at how many staff have resigned under Technical development manager in stormwater. All too scared to say anything.

      • Supporter to overflow

        Survival strategy. One should definitely investigate all these things, our money is wasted by these power hungry managers.

      • Open your Eye

        Is there any Technical Development work going on???? Wasting public money to keep that team on the job.

  • whistler

    spot on Dragonfly. Only some of the complaints against Dragicevich were
    investigated, Council changed Swarbricks terms of reference to stop the investigation
    becoming a complete embarrassment for council

    . The 2 managers were paid to withdraw their uninvestigated complaints and
    leave, after signing strict confidentiality agreements. The payments were made
    so they could be hidden (non disclosable)

    There is more to come out on this story, Dragicevich has been involved
    in some dodgy stuff and burnt a lot of people over the years, and just wait to
    see Mark Ford get implicated as well!

    • Gazzaw

      Let’s hope that the Herald keeps on the case then.

  • whistler

    and btw. Doug McKays delegated spending authority is $1.5m, without reference to committee

  • Auckland ratepayer

    Finally, all coming to the surface. Bullying is the norm from all levels at the so called supercity. It is the survival strategy to save individuals jobs rather serving to the community. Now is high time to investigate why the rate payers money is wasted like this manner. However, majority of mangers/leaders earn six figure salaries but doing nothing to the rate payers, instead micro-managing staff to cover-up own weaknesses.

    • WLB

      Yeah U right that trainwreck McArdle and useless Drag are still there wandering around fucking things up ,, getting paid by the ratepayer, these bullies have no shame and are let loose to do it by the CE

  • Paul thompson

    I listened to Doug Mackay at a breakfast meeting this year when he was asked by a member of the audience “why is it whenever I meet somebody from your organisation they always seem ‘pissed off’? His reply: “change is hard”. Doug, the issue just hasn’t been acknowledged – it’s In the too hard basket! The place is rife with brown tongued bullys!
    I’ve met Len Brown also – a spineless socialist of the worst kind!
    Strangely enough my business deals with these issues – and yes I have approached Doug directly -that was six months ago – not holding my breath!

  • L Mac

    So we hear today Doug McKay has “dealt” with bully Dragecivic and due process was followed, staff have nothing to fear. Yeah right Doug! Rubbish the bullying continues unabated and nothings happened to other tragic bully McArdle, The I&ES department is in utter chaos and the ratepayers are funding this debacle…i personally know about an additional $250,000 payouts to victims including the shocking and true case below exposed by “loyal colleague” so thats now $550,000 payouts…with more victims still on attack in Bullytown (Auckland Council)

    • What is fair?

      I have seen the pay details of the assault victim ‘loyal colleague’ describes. It was less than 10% of the $150k payouts to the managers. How do they decide who gets what? she has been fucked over twice now.

      • Concerned

        More than twice – what with how ACC are treating her and then her last employer Child, Youth and Family saw her ‘resign’ two weeks after she disclosed that she would be on 60 mins. Geez they wouldn’t want someone with any empathy working for them would they. I know her – care about her. Twice is an understatement!

  • Shit this has been revealling and most likely not even at the tip of the iceberg. If this is happening in some department, then I hate to think what goes on in our CCOs like ATEED, ACIL and especially Auckland Transport (Snapper)

  • Sonny N

    Some of Level 4, 5 and
    6 managers are bully and play bad politics to secure their position and continue to do so. People who worked/working under them in the former Regional Council and also in the super city know how they are/were treating/treated their staff. How many were left because of toxic and stuck-up management, in some cases whole team left. They used to show their productivity by re-producing project work reports inserting their names as real authors. Council recent IES staff survey (anonymous) rated them with the lowest rank. Every time they find excuses not to do any work. This will be taken as another excuse by such managers to stay on the job doing nothing. Mr. McKay and Patricia Reade should re-evaluate their IES management and be dealt with those toxic managers, and also media should not only point their fingers to JD, open-up the rest.

  • Another one bites the dust

    And we see another bullying payout (make that three) in today’s nzherald …

  • WTF?

    People clearly are willing to stoop very low. What happened to getting on with the job? How much time must have been exhausted plotting to destroy the reputation of a hard working, respectable manager who no doubt only expected his staff to do their jobs well. Interesting how naive people can be and so misinformed. The two ‘whistle blowers’ have no integrity and clearly no credibility. It’s disgraceful. Take some responsibility whistle blowers for your obvious inadaquacies as employees.

    • another ex council staff

      The problem with your twisted
      crap WTF is that Mr Dragicevich had last year performance reviewed both
      whistleblowers and both could not be faulted in their achievements and
      management ability. and speaking of inadequacies you would only have to look at
      the results of the staff survey in the Dragicevich dept to know he is widely
      despised. The person you are defending (if not yourself) has also destroyed the
      careers of many respectable former waitakere city council staff over the years.
      I’m confident the full story about Dragicevich will eventually come out, its
      only a matter of time……tic, tic tic

  • another ex council staff

    Doug McKay says yesterday in an email to all staff “I will not tolerate bullying and harassment in our organisation” – ROFLMAO … what?? Is Doug fuken stupid or what? Dragicevich is still employed in Auckland Council.!!
    He also says he’s only “paid out” $650,000 to bully victims. There’s a big difference between the cost of settlement and whats been paid out in $$$
    Some of these victims are on 6 months paid leave until resignation. Id imagine the total cost of settlements is well into the millions, whilst the bullies are still employed!

    • Friend of staff member

      Not only Dragicevich, other bullying managers are still employed. Some of them are the complainants/critics against Dragicevich management. Not all victims were paid. The majority of lower-grade staffs were constructive dismissal or forced to re-sign cases by bullying superiors. McKay, take actions, spend our money wisely and for worthy cause.

      • another ex council staff

        well my only response to that, and in my experience is that council have too many spineless staff who did not lodge formal complaints.
        Evil Prevails when Good Men Fail To Act

        • Friend of staff member

          Partly agreed. In most situations they were afraid of career getting ruined. Working in the Council is not end of the world for most of the people. Sure “Good Men” may have realized now. Those superiors are arrogant, untrustworthy, mis-interpret facts, no ethics; and spreading in-accurate statements. Hope NZ Herald will reveal this.

  • Forgiveness

    The person ‘loyal colleague’ speaks about is me.  The last week (or year) has been a horrible one. I never used to really ‘hate’ – but I can tell you – it is not a nice way to spend your days. Angry. Hating people. 

    I imagine there are a lot of hurt people out there at the moment – on all sides of this chaos. 

    I think I could let this and everything else that has happened consume me. I feel some days the tears will never stop. But I have decided that it would be wrong to allow myself to be robbed of so much good that is out there. There are good people, good days. Hope. 

    I teach my children to be kind, honest, not to hurt others and when they do – to say sorry and make it right. A lesson we could all do well to remember. 

    So, sorry to anyone that feels hurt by me. And I forgive those who have hurt me. 

    • Forgiveness

      Oh and as a p.s …when I worked for council – I was part of a great immediate team. All fab people. And the wider team of the Environmental Services Unit was a spectacular mix of some of the most intelligent, hard-working, committed and passionate people that I have ever worked with. They wanted to make a difference for the environment. I believe this also to be true of Janis McArdle. The same could be said of my colleagues in stormwater and solid waste. We shared lots of laughs and i still consider many friends. Some bad stuff happened. But a lot of good also happened.

    • Lion_ess

      Good on you Forgiveness, I,ll bet you have a great contribution yet to make. Good luck, kick ass, leave the junk behind.

      • Forgiveness

        Lion-ess: thank you. I slept well last night.

        • ex3kingser

          Dear Forgiveness, I’m so sorry to hear how you were treated. I found you to be an approachable, dedicated person in all aspects of your job. Going the extra mile for us in all our countless requests. Hope you are well and we miss you. PS. I also made my escape from said department and am a much happier person for it.

          • Forgiveness

            X3kingser: thanks. That means heaps. It’s been an isolating experience…and it’s nice to know some people do actually care.



    • John Drag

      and stop using your computer and come back to bed

  • Jim

    Interesting that no one, including Bernard, NZH, has revealed the salary the person involved receives. Not to mention grandfathered benefits that are at stake for an older person, not affected by the current AC policy he inforces. Great for some the ATA process which protected dead wood from any future market driven remuneration realignment