Review of chairwoman's work urged

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 09/09/2013

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An Environment Southland councillor has asked all councillors to review the performance of chairwoman Ali Timms.

But Ms Timms, while not opposed to a review, said doing it at the end of the three-year political term would be "meaningless".

Cr Robert Guyton invited all councillors via email last week to take part in an appraisal of the chairwoman, Ms Timms.

A performance review would allow for greater accountability, fairness and openness, he said.

The council's only quality control was elections, which was "not enough".

"I think it should be standard practice for the chair.

"A lot of other organisations do it . . . it makes us look a little backward if we aren't about to subject ourselves to internal scrutiny.

"It's something that we owe the ratepayers," he said.

Cr Guyton said several councillors responded to the emails in favour of a review but some had yet to reply.

He hoped all the councillors, including Ms Timms, would take part to ensure the review was fair.

Cr Guyton said he would raise the issue at this week's council meeting.

Ms Timms said performance measures were needed before a review could take place, otherwise it was "pointless".

"I'm employed by Southlanders, my constituents. A performance review is really a process for those employed and I'm not employed [by the council]," she said.

She was not opposed to performance reviews in principle, but said performance measures were needed before a review could take place, otherwise it was pointless.

Last year, Cr Guyton was one of four regional councillors who wanted Ms Timms to step down as chairwoman after she made a hoax phone call to a Cue television talkback show.

Ms Timms pretended to be a struggling mother of two called Ruby whose partner had been laid off at Tiwai, and repeatedly grilled Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt about the city council's funding of the Auckland to Bluff yacht race.

After the hoax call was outed by The Southland Times, Cr Guyton said he was appalled at Ms Timms' actions and he believed she should have stepped down as chairwoman.

terri.russell@stl.co.nz

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