ATEED Budget Running Away

Time to rein in the OPEX Lines

 

I have said this before and needs to be said again:

Okay this now becomes a Governance issue as it starts begging the question of recruiting and employment practices right across the organisation including the CCO’s like Auckland Transport. Governance insofar as this is the bureaucracy which provides its advice to our Governors (the Councillors and the Mayor) as well as the management of the City for which bureaucrats do.

If the above happened in ATEED I wonder what else is going on with things like:

  • “jobs for the boys,”
  • border line if not actual corruption practices (NOTICED AND NOT REALLY SURPRISED)
  • or even blackballing external candidates owing to existing workers and managers afraid that “the candidate showing up the existing workers and their work with his or her own work (the candidate’s) – rather than the existing crew embracing fresh new ideas the candidate might bring on board.

Might be time for a full sweep through the organisation with a very far-ranging inquiry into employment and deployment practices of our biggest employer both in Auckland and that affects Auckland!

 

So  this next one from ATEED should raise more than a few eye brows as Councillor Cameron Brewer drops a clanger on the ATEED budget runaway:

ATEED’s Comms & Marketing spend blows out five-fold!!!

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer has released ATEED’s escalating communications and marketing expenditure following public outrage over the expense and appointments of its London and San Francisco positions. He’s says it’s even more proof that councillors urgently need to know what ATEED is spending ratepayers money on.

In a LGOIMA response to Mr Brewer, it is now revealed that ATEED’s communications and marketing budget increased from $690,207 in the 2010/11 financial year to $5,298,899 in 2013/14 – the last full financial year.

“I appreciate the 10/11 financial year was only eight months for the new council, but when you annualise it, that’s equivalent to $1m Then when you compare that to the nearly $5.3m spent last year, it’s clear that it’s completely out of control. Increasing more than five-fold in just four financial years is unacceptable at any level. What’s more it’s way out of whack with how the other CCOs are tracking with their comms and marketing spend.”

“We know ATEED is set to spend $614.5m of ratepayers’ money over the next 10 years on operational matters, and is demanding multi-million dollar increases year on year. It’s totally unacceptable that we don’t know what it’s going to spend that money on because councillors are not getting any operational expenditure breakdown, despite the likes of me requesting it. This is just another example of why we need greater oversight on their operational budget because it’s out of control and ratepayers are getting let down badly.

“To date, us interested elected representatives are having to lodge Local Government Official Information Act requests to actually get any information, because it’s not being provided to us when we informally request it, nor is it anywhere in the draft Long Term Plan documents for the public to review.

“We saw OPEX breakdowns when we worked through the 2012 LTP but supposedly it caused the officials headaches because too many questions were being asked about individual line items. This time around, it has been decided that we see no OPEX breakdowns for the CCOS. Rest assured democratic input is dead. A few months ago ATEED pitched a Business Growth Fund initiative where ratepayers cash would be handed out to applying businesses. This was an outrageous idea, but who knows whether it’s part of the 10-year budget or not!

“This is comms and marketing spend up is another terrible look when ratepayers are now being asked to pay even more rates, accept much more council debt, and consider paying road tolls or a regional fuel tax.”

On the overseas appointments, Mr Brewer says it unbelievable that the Mayor has taken the side of ATEED and not Auckland ratepayers. So we now have a mayor that sides with big beaureacratic waste, not with genuine public concern. It’s very much a mayoralty of two halves. He insisted he stay on for the sake of the council and region’s reputation, but that clearly hasn’t worked.

“The Mayor should have gone NATO on this, but instead he’s opted to tickle ATEED’s tummy. It’s unbelievable. Let’s see him now come out and try to defend a five-fold cost increase on comms and marketing when he promised constraint in that area,” says Cameron Brewer.

—–ends——

 

The ATEED saga keeps just running away on Council, the Councillors and even the Ratepayers. The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request Councillor Brewer comes up top of the two different news items about ATEED largess.

 

From my own posts in this being Gotham City style politics:

THE WEEKEND ANALYSIS: WHERE IS OUR MAYOR – UPDATE WITH GOTHAM CITY STYLE POLITICS?

……

UPDATE: UMMM WHAT? SMACKS OF GOTHAM CITY STYLE POLITICS

Speaking of where the Mayor is check this piece out from the Herald this morning:

AUCKLAND CITY’S $230,000 MAN IN LONDON
Exclusive: Auckland Mayor in dark over council agency’s envoy
Aucklanders now have their very own man in London, at a cost to ratepayers of more than $230,000.

Auckland Council’s economic development arm has created a special contract in London for one of its senior executives, Grant Jenkins, who has moved his family to England.

His English-born wife, Kate, was homesick and had been longing to return home for several years, according to a former council staffer.

The Jenkins have set up home with their two children outside London in the village of Bourne End in Buckinghamshire.

As well as paying about $196,000 for a 12-month contract, ratepayers are picking up Mr Jenkins’ work expenses and office costs at New Zealand Tourism’s headquarters in New Zealand House near Trafalgar Square.

Ratepayers have paid an administration fee of about $15,000 for his contract and contributed $19,841 to the family’s relocation costs.

……..

Last night, a spokeswoman for Mayor Len Brown said he was unaware of Mr Jenkins’ job in London and had asked Ateed to brief him.

This is the second time this week the mayor has been blindsided by council bodies. He knew nothing about Ports of Auckland plans to begin demolishing Marsden Wharf next week.

The former council employee who contacted the Weekend Herald about Mr Jenkins’ new role said it was a case of a “job for the boys”.

“His wife is English and has been very openly longing to return to live there for several years.

“Ateed’s senior leaders, in their wisdom, have decided that they should concoct a role for him, pay to set him and his family up and live in one of the world’s most expensive cities at the Auckland ratepayers’ cost.

“No one had the opportunity to apply for this role. It was never advertised, just announced and put in place. It is stomach turning.”

———–

Source and full article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11405490

 

And from this morning:

It’s a ‘major scandal’: Local politicians criticise Auckland Council’s overseas postings

Updated 1 hour ago

Auckland’s local politicians have rounded on overseas postings created by the Auckland Council’s economic development arm, one even labelling it a ‘major scandal’.

On Saturday, the Herald revealed that Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) had created a contract in London for one of its senior executives, Grant Jenkins, at a cost to ratepayers of more than $230,000.

His English-born wife was homesick and had been longing to return home for several years, according to a former council staffer.

Now it’s emerged Aucklanders also have a representative working in San Francisco.

Pam Ford, of Auckland Council’s economic development arm, has been based in San Francisco since March last year.

Yesterday, an Ateed spokesman confirmed that Ms Ford, the project manager for Ateed’s leverage programme at the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco, had returned to the city for a joint role with New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade as a VIP programme manager.

The cost of the job to Auckland ratepayers is unknown, but an Ateed spokesman last night said it was a small percentage of the 12-month contract.

………

Full article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/super-city/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501110&objectid=11406141

 

Remembering if we look at LONG TERM PLAN FEEDBACK – THE BREAKDOWN #1 more people want less money spent on Economic/Culture (basically ATEED) but more on transport….

Wonder what will spring up tomorrow?

 

6 thoughts on “ATEED Budget Running Away

    1. I’m not sure – to obscure what? I think a quck look at the Leadership page of Mr Mark Ford and a quick look at Ms Pam Fords linked in profile will show not only do they share the same last name. Mr Ford has a very distinctive high forehead and an unusual widows peak, and Ms Ford, who surely would come under the direct report of the General Manager responsible for attracting Foreign Business Investment, also shares the same last name and the same high forehead and widows peak. That doesn’t make it a fact but I hope someones asked the question as it’s an amazing coincidence.

  1. Mark Ford
    General Manager Business Attraction and Investment

    Mark has general management responsibility for the investment team to identify and attract foreign direct investment into Auckland, and has spent over 25 years in financial markets in Tokyo, New York and South East Asia. …….

  2. Is Ms Ford related to either of the Fords EX CEO Mark Ford or Trustee Mark Ford? Or just same name. Yes the whole thing is a shocker. The increase in marketing budget, the Overseas postings, and Lack of transparency. But it’s not just a CCO problem – Council doesn’t give a breakdown of their opex either. Or Capex for that matter. The accounts from Auckland council are a joke. Surely the starting point for sorting this ongoing debacle out is detailed financial accounts from Auckland Council and it’s CCO’s that show where the money is going and to whom. And it’s time for Council to follow in Transports footstep and show a list of all outside contracts awarded. Lets have a look at the books – and stop all the lying – Basic.

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