The Deputy Chair’s role is a major one. As Deputy Chair on the first Waiheke Local Board I spent 35 hours a week doing the work demanded of the role. In other words it is a full time job. I worked closely with our Chair Faye Storer because I was required to deputise for her in the event of any absence. This involved keeping up with play on Auckland regional issues at the Governing Body level as well as my own responsibilities locally. In other words the workload of a deputy is heavy and time consuming.
Following the ousting of Brown at this week’s meeting the role of Deputy Chair will fall to Treadwell or Ballard. Meeuwsen, it seems has ruled himself out or at least that is what the Notice of Motion suggests. I wonder.
Meeuwsen regards himself as experienced in committee work, is retired and seems the obvious second best choice for the position after Brown. The Notice of Motion says of Meeuwsen that he “determined he didn’t need the experience” but that seems highly unlikely. The wording implies the role of Deputy is about on the job training rather than representing the community. Communities elect their representatives with the expectation that they will use their experience for the benefit of the whole. If Meeuwsen is, in reality, so dismissive of his own importance I seriously question whether he should be there in the first place. It is far more plausible that Meeuwsen isn’t as compliant to Walden’s wishes as Treadwell and Ballard. The scales might well have fallen from his eyes as they will have from Brown’s after spending a year trying to work with a personality as dictatorial and controlling as Walden’s.
This leaves Treadwell and Ballard to take on the full time role. They are both equally unsuited. Both have jobs in Auckland, both find attendance at workshops and Board meetings difficult to fit into their already busy days. Ballard has never yet found the time to attend a Board workshop. Workshops are held weekly. It’s the place where Board members are briefed by Council staff on the various matters they are required to consider at both the local and regional level. Policy and planning are high on the agenda.
Ballard’s inability to attend, or her lack of interest in attending, in my opinion, rules her out as a viable option for the role. Her only credential for being on the Board, having been on the island for less than a year prior to the election, was that she was a childhood friend of Paul’s and they go to the same fundamentalist church.
That leaves Treadwell. Treadwell has been late for, or not attended, just about every Board meeting over the last year. It is probable that the recent change to the meeting time of the Board, from 4.15pm to 5.15pm, has been made solely to accommodate her needs. In the past meeting times have been set to meet the needs of the community not the requirements of individual members. But we live in very different times with this Board.
Walden has manipulated the pieces on his chessboard to suit his own ends. Brown, and probably Meeuwsen, have been neutralised and Walden’s pawns set up to provide a Sicilian Defence for his own kingship. It remains to be seen if Brown can muster a counter attack of her own. Has she a white knight who will defend her honour? Will her supporters make their dissenting voices heard at this week’s meeting? Or is she just a sacrificial queen to be slaughtered on the high alter of Walden’s ambition.