Invercargill City councilor Nobby Clark has been moved off the Sport and Recreation Oversight Group after refusing to sign the non-disclosure agreement by council.
But the drama doesn’t stop there.
During committee meetings yesterday, deputy Mayor Toni Biddle accused the chief executive of being non-transparent by passing notes to the chairman Ian Pottinger.
Biddle raised concerns about the lack of open communication around the table and said it was distracting.
This was not the first time the media had heard allegations of Clare Hadley making contact with councillors during meetings, including sending text messages.
But Cr Pottinger said, when contacted, that after talking with Local Government New Zealand about meeting protocol and what rights a chair had, he understood that note passing was fairly acceptable and standard practice.
“It’s a very common practice from a staff member to the chair because there is a lot of information going on. There is no problem,” he said.
Cr Clark also found the note passing unacceptable and said councillors were the governor’s of the city and she was their employee.
He said she often interjected and didn’t let people speak.
When contacted after the meeting, Biddle said the councillors and CEO have worked hard to ensure governance and operations were not blurred.
“The CEO has openly expressed concern around elected members remaining out of operational issues which I completely appreciate and support.
“With this being said, it is critical that this is reciprocated by the CEO.
“In recent weeks I have addressed occasions where the CEO has made decisions around governance matters, and last night I felt the CEO was attempting to lead, interject and interrupt in matters of governance.
Biddle said she has addressed her concerns prior and would continue to do so.
“I value the council of our CEO and have asked that rather than passing notes, texting or emailing elected members during meetings, that we encourage an environment where we speak openly and transparently on issues.”
During the meeting Cr Pottinger called his colleagues behaviour appalling, accusing them of picking on the CEO and Cr Clark said the whole situation was a circus.
There were accusations of untruths regarding information on whether the Rugby Supporters Club should pay for the fit-out costs for Rugby Park.
Cr Pottinger said he adjourned the meeting “because it was going nowhere.”
When asked what information was supplied to him from the CEO in the notes he said they were often informative and related to “when things were done or a ruling on something. “She does not influence our meetings.”