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Auckland Councillors must prepare for action on Mayor

Auckland Councillors must prepare for action on Mayor Len Brown.

Leadership, respect and dignity must be restored

Several Auckland Councillors are becoming increasing concerned at the ongoing Len Brown saga and many ratepayers are also demanding that councillors take action to resolve the apparent hiatus of leadership on the Governing Body of the Auckland Council.

The Mayor is the city’s First Citizen and many residents feel that, whatever the outcome of the EY [Ernst & Young] report on the mayor’s actions, Len Brown has lost the respect of most of the citizens he is required to serve and to lead.

Under New Zealand law there is no provision for a mayor to be removed from office unless convicted of a criminal offence with a two-year sentence.

Even if Mayor Brown could be proved to have broken the Council’s Code of Conduct that would not lead to removal from office.

Any penalty for breaches of the Code Conduct will be decided by the Councillors themselves.

I suggest the Councillors, in that event, consider what took place in Toronto, Canada, recently when the Councillors essentially stripped Mayor Bob Ford of most of his powers and transferred them to the deputy-Mayor or the Council itself.

That action was not specifically permitted in Quebec Provincial law – but neither was it specifically prohibited.

There have been cases in Quebec where mayors have been suspended from office for various reasons, and new legislation has been passed endorsing this process.

The ability to ‘recall’ elected officials is widespread in the United States and some other countries.

I believe the Auckland’s Councillors now need to prepare themselves to take some definitive action as soon as the EY report has been released and considered.

If the EY findings are unfavourable to the mayor, and the mayor refuses to resign, the Governing Body of the Council must take action to ensure that Auckland returns to a leadership position which enjoys the support, confidence, and respect of the citizens of this city.

In that situation I urge the Councillors to follow the Toronto example and, by resolution of the Council, transfer as many of the mayor’s powers as possible to the deputy-mayor, another councillor or to the whole council.

Only such positive action will allow the start of the process of restoring dignity and respect to our local council and the city itself.

Ends.

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