“f) Approves a “Quick Response Fund” of $5,000 Opex and $5,000 Capex from 2013/2014 SLIPs Budgets for small projects that do not require scoping, with approval delegated to the Chair and Deputy Chair noting approved projects will be reported back to the following month’s Board meeting.”
What?! The Chair and Deputy Chair now keep $10k of ratepayers’ money in the ‘top drawer’ for their unsupervised expenditure on small local projects of their own choice!
Since when has a SLIPs (Small Local Improvements) project ‘not required scoping’ by Council officers? Scoping (basically the investigation of what’s required to deliver a specific project) is required as a safeguard to ensure value-for-money for ratepayers, Council’s financial transparency and accountability, and stop elected members from being accused of misappropriating ratepayers’ money to spend on themselves, their families, friends, political party or whatever.
What’s more, this resolution means that these decisions will be made by the Chair and Deputy alone. The other three Board members ‘approval’ is not required. They will not be consulted. They will not be involved in the decisions. There will be no majority vote. The other three Board members will simply be reported to after the event. They have no say.
First of all, shame on Meeuwsen, Ballard and Treadwell for permitting this travesty of a resolution to go through. Were they asleep at the time? Or is this ostensibly a two person Local Board? Are the other members now surplus to requirement? Not being familiar with the democratic process and democratic principles is clearly showing up when this Board says it is OK to have $10k of someone else’s money simply on-hand to pay out for projects that have no stated parameters and no checks and balances. Will this $10k find its way to the schools as well?
This action makes a mockery of there being any transparency or accountability into how the public’s money is being spent. What it demonstrates is two members of the Board are out of control – literally. There is no reason why any worthy SLIPs project can’t go through the proper process and Council needs to clamp down on this loose practice right now – before the $ numbers are in the tens or hundreds of thousands.
Get it together guys! You’re increasingly looking like watermelons - green on the outside but red as red on the inside.