2008_august_tabled_kylie_fowler by KylieFowler


									                         Conflicts of Interest
                              Within the
                       Bluff Community Board
                 Bluff Community Charitable Trust
                         And Other Entities

I would like to raise my concerns about the close affiliation between these
two organisations as well as other groups BCB members are involved with
and the conflicts of interest that arise from this. I have been in contact with
the Office of the Auditor-General, the Christchurch Ombudsman, the
Charities Commission and as directed by the ICC Help desk, I also
forwarded a copy to the ICC Communications Manager, Mrs Eirwen Tulett.

The Bluff Community Board appoints 3 members on to the BCCT, one of
which holds the position of Chairperson.      The Chairperson of the Trust
has "In the event of an equality of votes the Chairman shall be entitled to a
second or casting vote" (BCCT Trust Deed 12.5). As the Trust has 6
Board members, the Bluff Community Board members are able to pass any
resolution, as they hold the majority of votes.

The minutes of the BCB do not show any instances where Trust members
have refrained from voting on issues relating to the BCCT. While there is
no transparency within the BCCT, their Trust Deed shows that if they
refrained from voting at Trust level, the Trust would not be able to pass a
resolution due to quorum requirements. Many items funded by the Trust
have come from resolutions made at BCB meetings, showing that the BCB
members would have voted on the issues at both levels.

The Office of the Auditor-General covers non-pecuniary conflicts of interest
(Part 5, Conflicts of Interest Publication), page 48 paragraph 3 (Appendix 1)
discusses a scenario which can be easily translated to when the ICC disposed
of the Bluff Town Hall in 2005. The Southland Express, 14 July 2005,
quoted the Chairman of the BCB, Mr Rex Powley, as saying "the BCB had
been involved in negotiations and unanimously supported the decision".
This 'sale' was reported to have been made by Council so the ICC could
purchase the premises of Southern Aqua Adventures, who were in turn
leased the Town Hall Complex, to set up a council-controlled trading
organisation, namely the Bluff Service Centre.
During this process the ICC saved themselves $43k per annum by disposing
of the Town Hall as well as obtaining the premises they required for the
Service Centre. The Chairman of the BCCT, which received a property
for only $1, was involved in the negotiations as a BCB member. Southern
Aqua Adventures were able to sell one premises and lease another with no
opposing tenders for the right to use the Town Hall Complex, the lease also
allows them to retain any hireage fees collected. Other groups that wanted
to be involved with the future operation of the Town Hall have been actively
excluded by all parties involved.

All of this has been done with no community or ratepayer involvement.

The BCB later approached ICC to levy all Bluff ratepayers on behalf of the
BCCT at a rate of $5.60 per property, $6,000 per annum. The ICC have
not been able to provide me with any documentation they or the BCB
received from the BCCT to request this levy. According to the minuted
information I have been provided, this levy came from a comment
(Appendix 2) by the then BCB and BCCT Chairman at a BCB meeting.
Surely the Community Board members that hold positions on the Trust
should have refrained from discussion and voting on this issue due to their
conflict of interest.

More recently the BCB resolved to double the Maritime Museum grant, the
letter requesting this was signed by a BCB member and addressed to the
Chairperson of the BCB who is also a Maritime Museum Trust member. I
understand that there are 4 organisations within Bluff using the same P.O.
Box number showing how closely affiliated the BCB, ICC, BCCT and
Maritime Museum Trust are. While I appreciate the great work these
groups are doing I think it is important that transparency exists and the
whole community is given the opportunity to be involved.

There are many other examples of conflicts which show the BCB utilising
BCCT monies to fulfil their responsibilities and objectives. Minutes of
BCB 31 March 2008 (Appendix 3) clearly shows the views of some Board
members with regards to the Trust. Mr Powley (founding member of
BCCT) stated "It's not Trust money; it's administered on our behalf."
These minutes were accepted by Council without comment. My
understanding is that if the money is in fact Board money and being
administered by the Trust then all Trust dealing are required to comply with
the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

As are the Parent Entity of the Bluff Community Board I feel it is your
responsibility to address these conflicts and ensure the Community Board is
suitably informed of their responsibility to comply with relevant legislation
as well as provide clarification of the status of the BCCT.

I will be happy to clarify my position and discuss this with Councillors at the
meeting, 19 August 2008.


Kylie Fowler

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