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Deputy mayor to stay after councillor backs down

Councillor Kelvin Clout has withdrawn his signature from the requisition letter. File image/SunLive.

Tauranga’s deputy mayor will retain her position after a councillor has rescinded his signature from a letter asking for her to be removed.

Councillor Kelvin Clout has withdrawn his signature from the requisition letter asking for newly appointed deputy Tina Salisbury to be removed and for a vote to a select a new deputy to occur.

Clout says he came to the conclusion that Salisbury will make a very good deputy mayor and that he wants to move on and focus on the challenges and opportunities Tauranga has.

Mayor Tenby Powell announced Salisbury’s position at a council meeting on June 2 after Larry Baldock resigned as deputy.

Baldock resigned following a requisition letter sent by six councillors including Clout asking for his removal as deputy.

The councillors that sent the letters are John Robson, Dawn Kiddie, Kelvin Clout, Bill Grainger, Steve Morris and Andrew Hollis.

Clout says he and the other five councillors sent the first letter to address the internal working environment they had as elected members.

“There was a disconnect between the mayor and the councillors, so the working environment internally was not helpful.

“In terms of the mayor wanting to move the city forward that's quite difficult without the support of the council.

“I just felt that the stand the six of us took was to really try to address that issue and I believe that has been addressed and that strong message has been received.

“I admit that it was quite a radical move.”

After Powell appointed Salisbury the same six councillors sent another requisition letter on June 2 asking for her to be removed as deputy and for a vote to elect a new one to occur.

With Clout withdrawing his support for the removal of the deputy mayor and the election of a new one, the process ceases because there is a lack of majority.

Clout says he feels the disconnect has been addressed because Powell has engaged much more with some of the councillors over recent weeks.

“There is a commitment from him that he will increase that engagement and collaboration with us, his councillors, because I think he recognises that for the long-term to get things done over three years you need the support of your councillors.”

Steve Morris says the purpose of the first letter was to enhance democracy at the council and to try and create more transparency in the mayoral office.

"The letter was signed first of all to enhance democracy because there’s been, unfortunately, an authoritative style leadership deployed.”

Councillor Steve Morris. File image/SunLive.

Morris is disappointed Clout withdrew from the letter but says he is entitled to change his mind.

“I'm disappointed that he’s withdrawn from the letter because I think that the democratic process needed to happen but he's entitled to change his mind if he wants and he has to stand by that.”

Morris says since sending the requisition letter there has been no engagement with him from Powell or Salisbury.

“I haven't heard from the deputy mayor nor the mayor.” 

He hopes that Clout is right about the mayor’s commitment to increase engagement and collaboration.

“If he thinks that the mayor is going to change his behaviour, I sincerely hope that he is right.”

Clout says he wants to put the letter behind him, accept Powell’s choice of deputy and get on with the job the councillors have been elected to do.

He says deciding to withdraw from the letter was one of the hardest decisions he has had to make in his political career.

“It was a hard decision for me to make, but I feel for the sake of the city, I just really felt I did need to make it.

“I honestly feel like the actions we took, had an impact and I believe it is now time to put this behind us and to move on for the sake of our city.”

Powell agrees saying, “it's time to put this behind us and move forward together”.

"I'm pleased Kelvin has withdrawn from the letter of requisition which shows an open mind to giving Tina an opportunity to prove herself as deputy mayor and, importantly, for Tina and I together to lead council positively going forward".

"This is a period of major cultural change for Tauranga City Council at both elected member level and in terms of the wider organisation.

“Periods of major change are always dynamic and often tumultuous; we will get through this and work better together for the city.”

There were three other matters set out in the letter that Kelvin is still in support of which will be addressed at a council meeting on June 16.

These are appointment of chairs and deputy chairs to the Standing Committees, Smartgrowth Leadership Group appointees and the possible changes to the remuneration schedule.

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23 Comments
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AS per and in addition to my earlier post

Posted on 15-06-2020 20:59 | By The Caveman

It is really about time that Tauranga residents/ratepayers OF ALL AGES took a long hard look at WHO is standing for the Council and ignored the so called political party affiliations. And in fact it is my firm belief that PARTY POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS should be BANNED with local body elections. What are the prospective Councillors standing for? To follow the "party line" or to to look after the RATEPAYERS interests??

Leadership....

Posted on 15-06-2020 13:05 | By morepork

...is NOT about being the "Boss" and "ruling". It is about motivating people and SUPPORTING them. When the team succeeds, the Boss succeeds. The Mayor must be a facilitator and the Councilors must respect and accept his leadership, because he demonstrates his ability, not because he bullies them through his Office. There should not be covert hostility and rancour in the team. Issues must be on the table where they can be addressed and EVERYBODY’s opinion carries the same weight. (It is OK to have a different opinion from the Boss; your view will be examined and a consensus will be established.) Most of all, consider very carefully why you would run for Council and be sure your motives are genuine.

@Yadick

Posted on 15-06-2020 12:56 | By morepork

Thanks, I am flattered by your suggestion. I spent 35 years advising Boards of Directors and managing high budget, high pressure projects, mostly in Europe. (England, Germany, and Spain.) Never had a failed project, but came close a few times and learned very much along the way. I am retired now and my energy levels are not what they were then. I don’t believe I would be up to discharging the duties of a Councilor to the standard I would want to, and I wouldn’t accept doing a half-arsed job of it. The best I can do is comment and hope that somebody gets something out of my opinion. I love our City, am a TBC old boy, and I am now settled here for good. There are many good people doing very good things here, but the Council at the moment is suffering from poor leadership.

@Slim Shady

Posted on 15-06-2020 12:43 | By morepork

I hope you are wrong. (But I realize you may not be....). The four steps are a START and have been proven in other situations similar to the one we find ourselves in. They are not entirely MY steps; I learned about the underlying principles while on a Conflict Resolution course run by Harvard Business School. When things get as muddy as they are at the moment, it is time for all the players to stop and take stock of WHY they are there. The Mayor has been accustomed to command and that COULD be leveraged to lead people into getting disputes and rancour resolved, with some slight changes of style. It is easy to find fault; I was trying to suggest some positive action...

@morepork

Posted on 14-06-2020 21:06 | By

You are dreaming with your 4 step “path to harmony“. Powell now has his man Clout on board and can just continue to cut the others out - and half of Ratepayers at least. The Council is divided and dysfunctional and will remain so. Time for positive action against this tyrannical authoritarian force. Tauranga Lives Matter.

@ morepork

Posted on 14-06-2020 20:59 | By

Not that I agree with everything you say but just a thought . . . . . . Ever thought of standing for Council . . . Seriously . . .

Never

Posted on 14-06-2020 20:53 | By

In a million years did I think I would be saying, well done Councillor Clout. I just trust you’re not trying to set anyone up. Sounds more positive at this stage.

Powell out

Posted on 14-06-2020 17:02 | By Feruno

Powell is an arrogant, bombastic, authoritative person with serious problems, and needs to step down, or Tauranga and the ratepayers ARE going to suffer

@Tenby Powell

Posted on 14-06-2020 14:37 | By morepork

Show your ability and salvage this. 1. Call a "truce" meeting of Council, bury all hatchets, and let everyone put everything on the table. Then discuss and ELECT a Deputy Mayor. 2. ALL suggestions by Council members about ANYTHING pertaining to the running of our city will have EQUAL weight, UNTIL they have been reviewed by the team and evaluated. (There is no elitism; just good and bad ideas...WHAT’s right, not WHO’s right...). 3. Council members will adopt an internal procedure for resolving disputes between each other and the Mayor. If an impasse is reached, then both sides will be made public, and the council will vote on it. The position of each Councilor will be made public. 4. The existing Code of Conduct should be reviewed and ALL team members should agree to it. Emphasis should be on fairness, honesty, and respect. That’s a start...

Disgraceful.

Posted on 14-06-2020 14:03 | By morepork

It is saddening and disappointing to see the disgraceful machinations and behaviour of our current Council. What happened to integrity, decency, never mind honesty? ALL current Councilors should be re-examining WHY they ran for Council in the first place. If you see it as a career step to a quick salary upgrade, shame on you. If you don’t care about the money but you want some influence or power, then EARN IT! Show that you support Democracy, transparency, answerability, and you accept the duty of care for "other people’s money" and will protect it as your own. The Mayor should be a facilitator and coordinator, not a despot, or self-seeker with a long term view on a political career. Councilors should be working together with each other and the Mayor, not trying to score off each other or build cliques. Our city deserves better than this.

Unprincipled

Posted on 14-06-2020 14:01 | By Told you

What a ratbag Runs with the foxes and hunts with the hounds.

DISNEY LAND

Posted on 14-06-2020 11:35 | By

what a mickey mouse lot this is. When will tauranga get it rite,

Clout is History - Bobs Uncle

Posted on 14-06-2020 11:31 | By

Kelvin Clout has just signed his own dismissal letter, last term for him, nobody will ever trust him again. No integrity respect our care towards the system or the people that placed him in the role. Gone with a clout!

Calamity Clout throws good councillors under the bus

Posted on 14-06-2020 08:24 | By

How can we believe this Clout guy again? Seems to always back down on his commitment whether it’s to keep rates to inflation or to support councillors who had enough of the Tenby and Larry show. Now thanks to Clout’s waivering ways it will be the Tenby and Tina Team and councillors may as well not exist. The big question for Clout is what’s gone on behind all this?

What a TOTALLY

Posted on 13-06-2020 21:27 | By The Caveman

DYSFUNCTIONAL council we now have in Tauranga !!! - who is in who’s are who is getting what - behind the office doors ?????

As the wind blows

Posted on 13-06-2020 18:30 | By gincat

This guy seconded Baldock’s motion which lead to this up rising, now has not got he stomach to follow through.

@Slim Shady & Maryfaith

Posted on 13-06-2020 18:05 | By morepork

I endorse both of your posts 100%. Even if KC was NOT Bullied, and the Mayor is actually learning to modify his style somewhat, it doesn’t alter the fact that the election of Deputy SHOULD have proceeded.

Bad move, Kelvin.

Posted on 13-06-2020 18:00 | By morepork

The issue was not about the competence, suitability, or otherwise of Ms Salisbury, it was about the democratic process being followed. We cannot know whether Mr. Clout was induced by any party to change his mind, was bullied by the Mayor, or simply had a change of heart. What we do know is that he can’t be trusted to maintain a position that is the correct one. The internal election should have taken place because it is the right thing to do. But that doesn’t seem to be a big consideration for this Council.

Totally agree with

Posted on 13-06-2020 17:53 | By nerak

first three comments. Disappointed in the extreme, dismayed and disheartened that we the ratepayers will not have a decent working council going forward. Kelvin, you have lost a lot of credibility with me. Steve Morris, you speak very wise words. I think we ratepayers are in for a great amount of angst. It should have been the job of the councillors to vote for deputy mayor. Any other way is just simply incorrect. We need a mayor prepared to work for the ratepayers, NOT himself. Wondered why news from council had been very quiet for a while. Now we know, and it’s not good news.

Sounds like

Posted on 13-06-2020 17:39 | By Merlin

Sounds like a kindergarten not a District Council.

Carcass

Posted on 13-06-2020 17:21 | By Carcass

It become very clear the Kevin Clout is after a chair or in for a chair and that is why he with drew from the deputy mayor issue.You don’t need Councillors like that? Bad news Remember the the mayor and his deputy never did a apprenticeship ( served as Councillors for a term) some more trouble to come.

No principles

Posted on 13-06-2020 17:18 | By

Whether or not she would make a good Deputy is irrelevant. There is a principle at stake here and this man has shown that he has none. Done for me.

Disappointed

Posted on 13-06-2020 16:47 | By Maryfaith

I am disappointed that councillor Clout chose to back down rather than follow the course of democracy. I hope in future he will not back down when it comes to a similar situation. He should not have let himself be bullied. It does not bode well for the future when it is becoming clearer that we will be governed by a dictator!