Dean denies 'private meeting'

CASSANDRA POKONEY
Last updated 11:01 13/11/2012
Carolyn Dean
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
Carolyn Dean

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Invercargill City councillor Carolyn Dean has rejected claims she was involved in a private meeting with another member of the sub-committee that dealt with the appointment of the council's chief executive - and says she does not remember who moved a motion to change how the appointment process was carried out.

The allegations of a private meeting were made public by The Southland Times on Saturday and come after the council appointed the subcommittee - made up of Mayor Tim Shadbolt, Deputy Mayor Darren Ludlow and four city councillors - Norman Elder, Neil Boniface, Carolyn Dean and Lindsay Abbott - in June to accept a consultant's recommended shortlist of candidates for the council chief executive's job.

However, it was revealed Cr Elder resigned from the subcommittee. He refused to say why, but it is understood it came after the subcommittee decided to change the appointment process, despite the full council earlier opting for a different process.

The Times reported several councillors, including Crs Dean and Abbott, were involved in the private meeting.

However, yesterday Cr Dean said she was not involved in any meeting, nor had she communicated in any way with subcommittee members about favoured candidates.

"This so-called ‘private meeting' is a complete fabrication which simply never happened, and I vigorously reject any suggestion that these councillors have any interest, or undue influence, in the adoption of a process that is anything other than robust and fair to all," she says in an email to The Times.

It is understood that Crs Dean and Abbott moved and seconded the motion to change the appointment process, though not necessarily in that order.

Cr Dean later conceded a motion to change the process had been made but said she did not remember who had moved or seconded it. "I can't remember who moved and seconded it but it's totally irrelevant because everybody agreed to it except one person," she said.

Her understanding of the decision of the full council on the way the selection process would be carried out was that it was a proposal and not definitive, she said.

When asked for comment yesterday, Cr Abbott said he was "under legal instruction not to comment at the moment".

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