Further to this unfolding issue and the monitoring of emails, amidst calls from many for a forensic audit, nine Councillors are sticking by the CE in his actions. I personally find this of concern that none of those are encouraging an audit. If there is nothing to hide and all is above board there should be no problem at all with an audit. This is not rocket science. If your kid refuses to turn out his pockets you know something’s up. In this instance should HDC not welcome the opportunity to prove their innocence? Not so in this case.
Remember people, this is a council that last year refused to open the financial books … this current breach of privacy is more than just HDC, it is a further erosion of our already compromised privacy. They are relying on you to let this slide under the radar unnoticed.
Labour’s Robb McCann has called for an internal audit (Horowhenua District Ratepayers’ & Residents’ Assn Inc. FB page)
21 July 2017
Labour’s McCann applauds Ombudsman Enquiry
Otaki Labour candidate Rob McCann says the information sharing censorship controversy led to his writing to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“In the interests of ensuring that the Horowhenua District Council is operating in a fully democratic manner, and that full and frank information sharing rather than censorship is occurring, I wrote to the Office of the Ombudsman. I have asked them to investigate what seem to be practices that prevent the free flow of information such as the email blacklisting and interception of emails. I argued those practices could lead to an environment where councilors, and or staff, were not able to make free and informed decisions.”
Mr McCann says if that is the case, decisions such as the one to sell the Pensioner Flats (in what has been described as a fire sale to a property developer for a term of only twelve years), should be put on hold, until the community can be assured the HDC is acting in a democratic manner.
“This issue should not be about personalities. It is about democracy, and if we’ve learned anything from the Trump administration in America, it is that when people have something to hide, they try to prevent investigations. People with nothing to worry about would welcome the opportunity to assure the public that all is well, and build public confidence.
“I applaud the Ombudsman’s Office for agreeing to take a preliminary look at this issue. They informed me they have requested the Internal Audit from HDC.”
Mr McCann says this is the audit, that council has refused to release, citing that it is out of scope and full of errors.
“It seems clear that rather than deal with the substantive issues raised in the audit, the council have asked for a peer review and refused to table the document at council. There are allegations that the council has already received the KPMG peer review but are unhappy with aspects of that report.”
The purpose of audits is to ensure that if something is wrong, the issue is brought to light and then fixed. Mr McCann says in this instance it is quite clear that there are practices that are undemocratic. “Whether or not a there has been actual abuse of power, the system put in place and defended by the HDC Chief Executive, has the potential to facilitate and normalise illegal activities. That must not continue and an investigation by an organisation such as the Ombudsman’s office is the best place to start when the council is not willing to do the job itself.”
Here is a list of other headlines to date:
Mayor angry after audit reveals council blocking emails
Horowhenua CEO confirms vetting of some emails to politicians Councillors stand by under-fire chief executive embroiled in email snooping revelations
Concerns raised about email interception at Horowhenua District Council
Editorial: Clapperton’s position is untenable
Legal questions about ‘astonishing’ email interceptions
Horowhenua mayor urges council boss to stand aside
CE email vetting may fall foul of Privacy Act