Emails resulting in DCC staff sanction

Emails resulting in Acting CEO Athol Stephens advising staff under General Manager level to no longer communicate with Cr Vandervis.

 

 

Alleged breach of Code of Conduct #1

From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: Tuesday, 16 August 2011 10:27 a.m.
To: Athol Stephens; Tony Avery; Sue Bidrose; Kevin Thompson; Sandy Graham
Cc: mayor@dcc.govt.nz; kwilson@dcc.govt.nz; cweather@dcc.govt.nz; rthomson@dcc.govt.nz; cstaynes@dcc.govt.nz; tstevens@dcc.govt.nz; anoone@dcc.govt.nz; phudson@dcc.govt.nz; jmactavi@dcc.govt.nz; ncollins@dcc.govt.nz; fbutcher@dcc.govt.nz; sbrown@dcc.govt.nz; jbezett@dcc.govt.nz; backlin@dcc.govt.nz; Lee Vandervis
Subject: DCC ABUSE OF MOTORISTS
Importance: High

Staff of the DCC.

Get our parking wardens off the streets IMMEDIATELY! NOW!!

My most embarrassing complaints yet from citizens this morning describe our parking wardens issuing tickets to owners of snow-stranded cars all over the city.

Failure to respond by return with the decision to call the DCC dogs off our hapless motorists WILL RESULT IN AN ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE PUBLIC ESCALATION.

Cr. Vandervis

 

From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 18:03
To: Dave Cull <dcull@dcc.govt.nz>, Athol Stephens <astephen@dcc.govt.nz>, Tony Avery <tavery@dcc.govt.nz>, Sue Bidrose <sbidrose@dcc.govt.nz>, Kevin Thompson <kevin.thompson@dcc.govt.nz>, Sandy Graham <sgraham@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: Mayor Cull <mayor@dcc.govt.nz>, kwilson@dcc.govt.nz, cweather@dcc.govt.nz, rthomson@dcc.govt.nz, cstaynes@dcc.govt.nz, tstevens@dcc.govt.nz, anoone@dcc.govt.nz, phudson@dcc.govt.nz, jmactavi@dcc.govt.nz, ncollins@dcc.govt.nz, fbutcher@dcc.govt.nz, sbrown@dcc.govt.nz, jbezett@dcc.govt.nz, backlin@dcc.govt.nz, lvanderv@dcc.govt.nz
Subject: Re: DCC ABUSE OF MOTORISTS

Your Worship,

I apologise for having sent an inappropriately strong email to staff re ticketing of snow-stranded vehicles.

Having spent some time over the last two days rescuing snow-bound ratepayers caught out by fiendish conditions, I over-reacted this morning when faced with complaints of DCC parking staff adding to the considerable misery of snow-bound motorists by being out in force at 9am ticketing obviously abandoned vehicles. Why parking officers were out at all, given plenty of parking available, is another question.

Acting CEO Stevens response that parking services are “business as usual” as the CBD is ice-free this morning is only reasonable if you forget that many vehicles belong to people still stranded in hill suburbs, some of whom I delivered there yesterday in my 4WD for safety reasons.

I recognise that I have no right to give staff orders, and that the calling off the dogs phrase was an unacceptable way of suggesting how we might avoid very adverse publicity.

If any staff member felt personally abused by my email, I would appreciate the opportunity of apologizing to them individually.

Kind regards,
Lee

 

 

Alleged Code of Conduct Breach #2

From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: Friday, 19 August 2011 05:46 p.m.
To: XXXX
Cc: John Bezett; Syd Brown; Chris Staynes; Dave Cull
Subject: Lease – 54 Moray Place

Dear XXXX,

The minutes of the Property Subcommittee 2/8/11 suggest that the reason for leasing the new Moray Place Carpark to [commercial operator] is because [commercial operator] will return an additional net gain to Council of approximately $150,000 every year for the next 3 years. [Curiously precise figures were minuted]

Our poor management of buses compared to what PT are capable of was an unfortunate implied admission from DCHL, but I wonder if our management of carparks is the reason [commercial operator] can return so much more to us and still make commercial profits on top.

Is our management of carparks so much less efficient than [commercial operator], or is there some other reason they can return +$150Kpa+GST+commercial profits on the near-new Moray Place building?

Does this have implications for the other significant investments we have in other carpark buildings and carparks?

Looking forward to learning where all the available value/returns are on all our carparks.

Kind regards,
Lee

 

From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: Monday, 22 August 2011 09:42 p.m.
To: XXXX
Cc: mayor@dcc.govt.nz; kwilson@dcc.govt.nz; cweather@dcc.govt.nz; rthomson@dcc.govt.nz; cstaynes@dcc.govt.nz; tstevens@dcc.govt.nz; anoone@dcc.govt.nz; phudson@dcc.govt.nz; jmactavi@dcc.govt.nz; ncollins@dcc.govt.nz; fbutcher@dcc.govt.nz; sbrown@dcc.govt.nz; jbezett@dcc.govt.nz; backlin@dcc.govt.nz; Lee Vandervis; Athol Stephens; Sandy Graham
Subject: Re: CARPARKS Incl 54 Moray Place

Thank you for your reply XXXX and for suggesting the implications regarding all the other carparks we currently own.

My main query remains unanswered though.

How can our management of carparks be so dysfunctional that [commercial operator] can give us an extra $150,000+per year + GST + make a commercial profit themselves on a custom-made carpark that the DCC have only recently built to its own specification?

[commercial operator] are big no doubt, but what specialist efficiencies can they have that the DCC do not, given that the DCC have been running many car-parking buildings here for years, have local knowledge, have economies of scale with local security covering many other properties, have control of competing parking fee levels, and have a parking monopoly here in Dunedin?

If we can’t run something as basic as a parking monopoly efficiently, is there any business that we can run properly?

My business experience suggests that the fundamental debt-causing DCC problem is massive overheads with far too many staff – a self-serving bureaucratic culture with little specific expertise.
The DCC has 687 FTEs, but no engineers, no lawyers, no tax specialists, no employment specialists, no Mac/Apple expertise, no survey specialists, and now it seems no parking business expertise either.

Today’s ODT lead story ‘DCC staff bonuses not part of savings’ suggests that our fundamental debt-causing staff problem will be the last area to be looked at, after we have sold our assets, shoved water and solid waste etc into CCO’s, compounded decades of extra interest, and continued screwing rates sky-high all the way along.

If the carparks have no business case to keep, is there a strong business case for keeping anything else in the property portfolio?

Kind regards,
Lee

 

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2011 09:44
To: XXXX
Cc: Mayor Cull <mayor@dcc.govt.nz>, “kwilson@dcc.govt.nz” <kwilson@dcc.govt.nz>, “cweather@dcc.govt.nz” <cweather@dcc.govt.nz>, “rthomson@dcc.govt.nz” <rthomson@dcc.govt.nz>, “cstaynes@dcc.govt.nz” <cstaynes@dcc.govt.nz>, “tstevens@dcc.govt.nz” <tstevens@dcc.govt.nz>, “anoone@dcc.govt.nz” <anoone@dcc.govt.nz>, “phudson@dcc.govt.nz” <phudson@dcc.govt.nz>, “jmactavi@dcc.govt.nz” <jmactavi@dcc.govt.nz>, “ncollins@dcc.govt.nz” <ncollins@dcc.govt.nz>, “fbutcher@dcc.govt.nz” <fbutcher@dcc.govt.nz>, Syd Brown <sbrown@dcc.govt.nz>, “jbezett@dcc.govt.nz” <jbezett@dcc.govt.nz>, “backlin@dcc.govt.nz” <backlin@dcc.govt.nz>, Lee Vandervis <lvanderv@dcc.govt.nz>, Athol Stephens <astephen@dcc.govt.nz>, Sandy Graham <sgraham@dcc.govt.nz>, Bruce Miller <bmiller@dcc.govt.nz>, Athol Stephens <astephen@dcc.govt.nz>, ‘Sandy Graham’ <sgraham@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: CARPARKS  Incl 54 Moray Place

In that case XXXX we are both appalled.

My apologies for getting the wrong Moray place carpark, but the question of why we are getting so much less from operating our carparks than [commercial operator] are obviously capable of remains unanswered.

Dunedin’s ratepayers have a great deal invested in our many carparks, we have recently just bought another one and jacked up its parking fees, and now we are looking at leasing them off.
Are you suggesting that I should be directing my question to Citi Park, and if so to whom?

Kind regards,
Lee

 

 

My response to Mayor Cull’s demand for further apology:

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 18:03
To: Dave Cull <dcull@dcc.govt.nz>, Athol Stephens <astephen@dcc.govt.nz>, Tony Avery <tavery@dcc.govt.nz>, Sue Bidrose <sbidrose@dcc.govt.nz>, Kevin Thompson <kevin.thompson@dcc.govt.nz>, ‘Sandy Graham’ <sgraham@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: Mayor Cull <mayor@dcc.govt.nz>, “kwilson@dcc.govt.nz” <kwilson@dcc.govt.nz>, “cweather@dcc.govt.nz” <cweather@dcc.govt.nz>, “rthomson@dcc.govt.nz” <rthomson@dcc.govt.nz>, “cstaynes@dcc.govt.nz” <cstaynes@dcc.govt.nz>, “tstevens@dcc.govt.nz” <tstevens@dcc.govt.nz>, “anoone@dcc.govt.nz” <anoone@dcc.govt.nz>, “phudson@dcc.govt.nz” <phudson@dcc.govt.nz>, “jmactavi@dcc.govt.nz” <jmactavi@dcc.govt.nz>, “ncollins@dcc.govt.nz” <ncollins@dcc.govt.nz>, “fbutcher@dcc.govt.nz” <fbutcher@dcc.govt.nz>, Syd Brown <sbrown@dcc.govt.nz>, “jbezett@dcc.govt.nz” <jbezett@dcc.govt.nz>, “backlin@dcc.govt.nz” <backlin@dcc.govt.nz>, Lee Vandervis <lvanderv@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: DCC ABUSE OF MOTORISTS

Your Worship,

I apologise for having sent an inappropriately strong email to staff re ticketing of snow-stranded vehicles.

Having spent some time over the last two days rescuing snow-bound ratepayers caught out by fiendish conditions, I over-reacted this morning when faced with complaints of DCC parking staff adding to the considerable misery of snow-bound motorists by being out in force at 9am ticketing obviously abandoned vehicles. Why parking officers were out at all, given plenty of parking available, is another question.

Acting CEO Stevens response that parking services are “business as usual” as the CBD is ice-free this morning is only reasonable if you forget that many vehicles belong to people still stranded in hill suburbs, some of whom I delivered there yesterday in my 4WD for safety reasons.

I recognise that I have no right to give staff orders, and that the calling off the dogs phrase was an unacceptable way of suggesting how we might avoid very adverse publicity.

If any staff member felt personally abused by my email, I would appreciate the opportunity of apologizing to them individually.

Kind regards,
Lee

 

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2011 22:04:24 +1200
To: Dave Cull <dcull@dcc.govt.nz>, Chris Staynes <staynesc@es.co.nz>
Subject: Code of Conduct complaints

Dear Dave and Chris,

Further to our amicable discussion the other day, I have reviewed the complaints made by Crs Wilson and Brown and taking your Worship’s lead, will address the highlighted offending emails separately.

I agreed to apologise for the ABUSE OF MOTORISTS email, noting that I had already apologised prior to the code of conduct complaints being made. The apology that I had already sent to all Councillors and staff as below seems to me now to be quite comprehensive and I do not know what else could be added to it.  Staff may have complained to you, but no staff member has complained to me and no staff member has responded to my offer to personally apologise to them individually.  [“If any staff member felt personally abused by my email, I would appreciate the opportunity of apologizing to them individually”]

Under these circumstances, resending the apology would be pointless.

Regarding my emails exchange with XXXX, my review of this series of emails has highlighted my measured questioning on behalf of the ratepayer on a wide-ranging and serious issue, and XXXX’s failure to provide the information required. The consequent goading that I readily admit to, is simply a response to XXXX’s stonewalling. The apparent fact that I should have directed my enquiries to the management of the parking department turns out to be a red herring as I have since learned that XXXXs ultimate responsibility to ensure that all DCC [assets], including carparks, are run in a fiscally prudent manner, which they appear not to be. I do not believe there are any code of conduct issues for me to defend here. I don’t care for the ‘tone’ of many of my fellow Councillors either.

A number of other issues which need investigation on behalf of ratepayers also now seem to fall in XXXXs area of responsibility, but his responses so far do not bode well for getting any of the required information directly.

The best I am able to offer you as far as XXXX is concerned, is my promise not to further question XXXX directly about a raft of [DCC] issues. This promise is easy for me to make as it is clear that I will get none of the information that I seek from him anyway, in the manner of YYYY or ZZZZ.

If all of this response from me inclines you to proceed with a code of conduct complaint investigation, then I look forward to the opportunities that this will present.

Kind regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis 

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About Lee Vandervis

My name is Lee Vandervis and I was born in Balclutha 60 years ago to Dutch immigrant parents who ran a successful building contractor business. I have been passing Dad nails since I can remember and I learned to swing a hammer usefully early in life. My parents always pushed the values of thrift and a broad education. At Otago University I gained a BA in Philosophy before going to London for 5 years overseas experience, working in electronics manufacturing and rising to Production Manager of Midas Audio UK, building mixing consoles for musicians like Stevie Wonder, Supertramp and Pink Floyd. I returned to Dunedin in 1981 to have a family and set up Vandervision Lighting Audio and Video, making it Dunedin’s largest lighting hire business, and restoring heritage buildings like Dundas st Church and 401 Moray Place along the way. I sold most of my business interests when first elected to the DCC in 2004. Dunedin City Councillor profile: http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/councillors/cr-lee-vandervis
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