Community board to sort out own issues: council boss
The Invercargill City Council has no formal powers to tell the fractious Bluff Community Board how to gets its house in order, council chief executive Richard King said yesterday.
The city council's representative on the Bluff Community Board, Graham Lewis, has asked the council to investigate after Bluff board member Brent Procter called Bluff resident Kylie Fowler a c... on her blog.
The incident follows a series of conflicts involving board members and members of the public in Bluff this electoral term.
Mr King, who is "appalled things have deteriorated to this stage", said yesterday he had met with the city solicitor to discuss the issue after Mr Lewis asked the council to investigate.
Mr King said his interim view was that the council could give the community board guidance and advice, but the board's internal issues were for its own members to sort out.
The community board was not a committee of the city council, he said.
The Bluff Community Board had voluntarily adapted its own code of conduct, but even if a board member breached the code there was little the council could do apart from public censure. "And it wouldn't be the council that would do that, that would be the community board itself," Mr King said.
Mr Procter said yesterday Mr King was "absolutely correct" and he was astonished Cr Lewis was so "thoughtless and naive" as to call for an investigation in the first place.
It also appears the war of words between Mr Procter and Ms Fowler may continue. Mr Procter said he had used the c-word to bring to attention the discord he believed Ms Fowler was causing in the Bluff community, with many of her views coming out in blogs.
But Ms Fowler said yesterday she would not be giving up blogging and she wanted Mr Procter to argue with her on the issues, not get personal.
Bluff Community Board chairwoman Jan Mitchell was not talking to The Southland Times yesterday, hanging up the phone before questions could be asked after earlier expressing disappointment in aspects of Thursday's front-page article.
However, board member Charlie Te Au was talking, and Mrs Mitchell was in his sights.
He said he was disappointed she had declined to comment to the media about his partner Kylie Fowler being called the c-word by Mr Procter.
Mr Te Au noted that Mrs Mitchell was taking another Bluff resident, John Edminstin, to court for defamation because of offensive words he allegedly called her, but she had not seen fit to publicly denounce Mr Procter's language.
"Why has she not come out and said she finds that unacceptable?"
Another Bluff Community Board member, Pania Coote, who has kept away from the aggro enveloping the town, yesterday called on all the warring parties to get together and sort out their issues.
Ms Coote, who is serving her second term on the Bluff Community Board, said she was saddened by what was going on and it was time the differences were resolved.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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