Minister Amy Adams may meet with former CTOS trustees
The associate finance minister has indicated she will meet with a prominent group of Southlanders who have serious concerns over how current Community Trust of Southland trustees treated John Prendergast.
Prendergast, who was chief executive of the Community Trust of Southland for nearly 20 years, resigned on June 2 and later said the current trustees had unanimously asked him to resign without giving him any reasons.
The prominent group of Southlanders, all former Community Trust of Southland trustees, subsequently wrote to associate finance minister Amy Adams on May 29, asking her to investigate the trust and the current trustees.
They felt Prendergast had been treated badly by the current trustees and said they were deeply concerned with what was happening at the trust.
Adams initially declined to investigate, saying the information she had been provided with did not meet the high threshold to warrant an investigation, and she needed more information.
The former trustees this month sent Adams a second letter.
Peter Redpath, one of the former trustees and a signatory to both letters, said the second letter had a "particular emphasis" on wanting Adams to meet with them to discuss their concerns.
Adams, in an emailed response to Stuff questions on Thursday, said she had received the second letter and indicated she would meet with the former trustees.
"I have received a further letter dated 11 August, 2017 from the former trustees.
"I will respond about arrangements for a meeting shortly."
It is understood nine former trustees signed both letters to Adams, but two different names are on the second letter.
Redpath said the minister's response to Stuff was very encouraging.
"We look forward to receiving the formal response and making the arrangements [for a meeting].
"We will be discussing the significant concerns around what has happened at the Community Trust of Southland, including what has happened to John Prendergast."
The original letter sent to Adams on May 29 by the former trustees says questions need to be asked whether the events surrounding Prendergast's then imminent departure arose from any personal views and sense of grievance held by any current trustees,
"Including as a result of events involving them prior to their appointment as trustees".
"It is our view it is not appropriate to retain any personal sense of grievance when acting as a trustee of the trust."
If there were personal agendas afoot, the chief executive and community should not be victims of it, the letter says.
"We are deeply concerned by what is currently happening at the trust and ask you, as the associate minister of finance with responsibility for community trusts, to urgently request an investigation."
- The Southland Times