Mayor Hawkins breached confidence on my non-public, non-staff CEO motions.

The ODT headline below misrepresents the breach of confidentiality identified in my Code of Conduct complaint against Mayor Hawkins.

As the following emails sent a week ago to the ODT show, Mayor Hawkins breached confidentiality and did not apologise to me.
From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Wednesday, 17 June 2020 at 7:25 PM
To: Hamish McNeilly <hamish.mcneilly@stuff.co.nz>
Subject: Code of Conduct Complaint against Mayor Hawkins – 3 of the issues

Hi Hamish,

There have been a number of remarkable claims/counterclaims surrounding my Code of Conduct complaint against Mayor Hawkins.

Notably:
#1 – Investigator Dyhrberg below has said “that if the alleged breach is established, then the breach would be material.” and later, having established the very clear email-proven breach, somehow ruled that the breach was not-material. I have been unable to get a cogent response to this bare-faced contradiction.

#2 – The claim by Head of Governance Sandy Graham that her summation of the Code of Conduct decision had to remain Confidential. Clearly this attempt to keep it under wraps was  inappropriate, as confirmed by independent legal advice.

#3 – the claim that an apology has been made to me by Mayor Hawkins? I have not identified an apology as yet.

Email trails relevant to each of these issues follows.

Cheers,

Lee

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Wednesday, 17 June 2020 at 7:25 PM
To: Hamish McNeilly <hamish.mcneilly@stuff.co.nz>
Subject: Code of Conduct against Mayor Hawkins, decision by Dyhrberg. Issue #1

#1 – Investigator Dyhrberg below has said “that if the alleged breach is established, then the breach would be material.” and later having established the very clear email-proven breach, somehow ruled that the breach was not-material. I have been unable to get a cogent response to this bare-faced contradiction.

From: Sharon Bodeker <Sharon.Bodeker@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Thursday, 5 December 2019 at 3:07 PM
To: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Subject: RE: Confidential – Code of Conduct

Dear Lee

Further to my email below, I wanted to update you on progress on your complaint.  Ms Dyhrberg has assessed that if the alleged breach is established, then the breach would be material.  She is now investigating if a breach has occurred.  A report of her findings is expected to be received sometime next week.

Kind regards

Sharon

From: Aaron Hawkins <Aaron.Hawkins@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Thursday, 30 January 2020 at 4:43 PM
To: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>, Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Cc: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: Code of Conduct matter – email

Thanks Sandy

And may I add my apologies to all elected members for the lack of rigour around the appraisal process.

It would have been preferable for all parties to have a better shared understanding of how it would run, in advance of it coming to the meeting.

As you will have noted in the papers for tomorrow, the Chief Executive Appraisal Committee has not been reconstituted in this triennium. My intention is to outsource the facilitation of this work in future, to people with suitable expertise, involving all council members in that process.

Ka mihi

Aaron

Aaron Hawkins

MAYOR OF DUNEDIN 
TE KOROMATUA O ŌTEPOTI

From: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Thursday, 30 January 2020 at 4:33 PM
To: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Cc: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@oa.dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Code of Conduct matter – email

Good afternoon Councillor

I can advise (after seeking a legal opinion)  that my email below is public information and is not confidential.

I have copied all Councillors as the email in question was sent to them all.

Regards

Sandy

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Sent: Sunday, 19 January 2020 9:18 a.m.
To: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: Confidential – Code of Conduct matter

Hi Sandy,

I understand that you want the Dyhrberg attachment to be confidential, but is there any reason for your email below to be confidential?

Cheers,

Lee

From: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Friday, 17 January 2020 at 3:11 PM
To: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Confidential – Code of Conduct matter

Dear Councillors

In confidence

Recently, a code of complaint against the Mayor was received from Cr Vandervis about a breach of confidence relating to the CEO appraisal process relating to the 12 November 2019 Council meeting.

An independent investigator was appointed as per the process in the Code of Conduct. As the complaint related to matters associated with the CEO, I was delegated responsibility for the process.

The investigator – Steph Dyhrberg –  has determined that there was a breach but that it was non-material. In the case of a non-material breach, the investigator informs the CEO and can make recommendations. The investigator’s decision and any recommendations are not open to challenge. The recommendations are non-binding.

Her report is attached for all Councillors information. This report is confidential as the matters discussed in it are non-public.

You will see from the report that there are a number of recommendations relating to operational and procedural matters. These recommendations have been reviewed and the recommended changes are being progressed. There will be a follow-up report on progress and the process improvements that have been made as a result.

If you have any questions, please direct them to me in the first instance.

Regards

Sandy

Sandy Graham

General Manager City Services               

From: Sue Bidrose <Sue.Bidrose@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Tuesday, 19 November 2019 at 5:31 PM
To: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: Andrea Jones <Andrea.Jones@dcc.govt.nz>, Graham McKerracher <Graham.McKerracher@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: FW: LGOIMA information request. CEO travel.

Dear Councillors

Today we have answered a LGOIMA from Cr Vandervis (attached below) about the number of days was not in my office in the 365 days preceding the LGOIMA, from 26 October 2018-25 October 2019.  The answer given was that on 150 of the proceeding 365 days I did not work in my office/DCC premises.

I thought I would let you know about this in the light of a suggestion made, but not passed, at my Performance Review to add a KPI that I should be required to work from my office, or the city, on 90% of days in a year.  It is also useful because someone has informed the Otago Daily Times that there is disquiet around the Council table about the number of days I am out of Dunedin or the DCC, and leave or time in lieu I have  taken.  Please note this is not a question that has ever been raised with me so I was appalled to find that someone has raised this with the ODT on your behalf, without ever asking me and without any facts to either support or contradict such a claim.  As you are all my employer and have obligations to me accordingly, I have to assume none of you would behave in that manner, but some of you may have been approached by whoever has made the claim so it is important you have some facts behind you.

How many days did I work in that one-year period?

I would like to note first that being CEO is a full time, 24/7 job, where I am contactable pretty much all the time – much like yourselves.  And it is worth noting that modern work patterns include working on emails and reports, taking phone calls from any location – a lot of the time most of my staff would not know where I am, physically, unless we are actually meeting.  In addition, it is worth pointing out that I now have a very competent second-tier team (and third-tier for that matter) who run their parts of the business very well, but who also know they can ring me when I am of town, either working or on leave.  The figures below only relate to days of work needing my physical presence at meetings and events – like most of you, emails and phone calls happen every day, every evening.

By way of background, in an average 365 day period there are 142 non-working weekend/statutory/annual leave days.  This leaves 223 days where we expect DCC’s full-time employees to work, less any sick leave if required.  As best I can tell (noting that I have never kept a formal record because my work ethic has never been challenged), I worked over 275 days in that one-year period.  I am certainly comfortable that my number of working days well exceeds the 223 days above, and in a typical week I work 5 week days, plus one weekend day or part-day and a couple of evenings.

As Time in lieu was specifically mentioned to the ODT, in the 365 days in question I took 10 days as Time in Lieu (TiL) leave.   This is somewhat higher than other years, I think, because of the TiL taken for the for 5 of the 6 weekend days I spent in China.  In each case TiL was approved by the Mayor.   Although I worked on 45 weekend days, TiL was only taken for 10 of the weekend days where I worked a full weekend day and did not have home life time.   I have never taken TiL for evening or part-days worked.

What do I do when I work away from DCC?

Of the over-275 days I worked in that 365 day period, 62 were worked out of Dunedin – 41 weekdays and 21 weekend days.

 I travel within New Zealand for a variety of meetings to advance DCC’s interests, probably about once a month.  Wherever possible, such trips were arranged to have more than one meeting and serve more than one purpose.  The meetings in that year included topics such as waterfront development meetings, discussions with other local and central government CEOs about our work with government, meetings with national Union leaders, with the Minister of Local Government, the State Services Commission, work related to Civil Defence planning and the PGF, work touching on cyber security, meetings with central government CEOs that we work with, work to align Dunedin’s ‘construction pipeline’ with that in other parts of the country, and work looking at strategic drivers of change coming up in local government.  Some of these meetings were facilitated by or involved Local Government New Zealand or the Society for Local Government Managers, or occurred during meetings with LGNZ or SOLGM such as the quarterly ‘Metro Mayors meeting’, SOLGM board meetings and the SOLGM Central Government/Local Government CEO’s meeting.  Most were Wellington, some Auckland and a smaller number elsewhere.

Also in that year I made a single but sizeable a ‘project China’ visit of 16 days that year (10 weekdays and 6 weekend days).

A little over a year ago I was elected by Chief Executives internationally (but predominantly in the USA) to sit is on the international City Managers/CEO’s Association and their International Ethics Board.  This in a prestigious position where I was elected to represent the Southern Hemisphere, and it is important to point out that I was chosen at least in part because of my reputation in promoting excellence in Public Service Ethics.  My participation in this ICMA board for a three-year term was approved by the CEO’s Performance Committee, which agreed that I would use two of my weekend days and two work days for each quarterly meeting.  It usually also requires one leave day because of travel demands.  Between these quarterly meetings are teleconferences, usually at 5 or 6am because of time zones.  Council also allowed me, for my professional development, 4 days to attend the ICMA Annual Conference last month.  (DCC and I contribute equally to this time – there were 12 week days, 12 weekend and leave days).

I hope this answers any questions you may have.  If you do have disquiet about my work or what I do with my time, please feel free to come and talk to me, or raise it with the Mayor.

Kind regards

Sue

From: Sharon Bodeker
Sent: Tuesday, 19 November 2019 3:46 p.m.
To: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Subject: RE: LGOIMA information request. CEO travel.

Dear Cr Vandervis

I am writing in response to your LGOIMA request below about CEO travel.

There were 150 days of the 365 days prior to and including 25 October 2019 where the CEO did not work in her office or other DCC premises. Please note that this total includes weekend days, statutory days, annual and other leave days, and working days away from DCC.

The CEO visited two counties in these 365 days – China and the USA.

The trip to China was a ‘project China’ visit which was paid using Project China budget, and the CEO’s portion of that trip was $8,160.14. There were visits to three cities, and the purpose was to celebrate to 25th anniversary of the Shanghai Sister City agreement, the 150th anniversary of Otago University with Chinese alumni, to farewell the Mayor and to sign an MOU for deepening education collaboration, and to open the NZ-Shanghai Film Festival.

The CEO is on the International City Managers Association (ICMA) and their International Ethics Board.   The cost from the DCC CEO’s budget for this board participation and for ICMA conference attendance in the USA was $7,425.35.  The CEO also travelled within New Zealand for work purposes, and the total cost was $5,540.69.  Together, these total $12,966.04 of the CEO budget spent on travel over this period. (Note, there were no costs of any kind for ‘tours’ as mentioned in your LGOIMA request).

I trust this answers your request for information.

Kind regards

Sharon Bodeker

TEAM LEADER CIVIC               

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Sent: Friday, 25 October 2019 4:19 p.m.
To: Sharon Bodeker <Sharon.Bodeker@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: LGOIMA information request. CEO travel.

Hi Sharon,

Can you please tabulate how many days our CEO has been away from her DCC office in the last 365 days from today.
Can you also forward a list of countries our CEO has visited, the main reason for each visit, and what our CEO’s total national and international travel budget: flights/connections/ tours/accommodation etc. has cost during the last 365 days

Looking forward,

Lee

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Wednesday, 17 June 2020 at 7:26 PM
To: Hamish McNeilly <hamish.mcneilly@stuff.co.nz>
Subject: Code of Conduct – Issue #2

#2 – The claim by Head of Governance Sandy Graham that her summation of the Code of Conduct decision had to remain Confidential. Clearly this keeping the Code of Conduct breach by Mayor Hawkins in non-public was inappropriate, as confirmed by independent legal advice.

From: Aaron Hawkins <Aaron.Hawkins@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Thursday, 30 January 2020 at 4:43 PM
To: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>, Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Cc: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: Code of Conduct matter – email

Thanks Sandy

And may I add my apologies to all elected members for the lack of rigour around the appraisal process.

It would have been preferable for all parties to have a better shared understanding of how it would run, in advance of it coming to the meeting.

As you will have noted in the papers for tomorrow, the Chief Executive Appraisal Committee has not been reconstituted in this triennium. My intention is to outsource the facilitation of this work in future, to people with suitable expertise, involving all council members in that process.

Ka mihi

Aaron

Aaron Hawkins

MAYOR OF DUNEDIN 
TE KOROMATUA O ŌTEPOTI

 From: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Thursday, 30 January 2020 at 4:33 PM
To: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Cc: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@oa.dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Code of Conduct matter – email

Good afternoon Councillor

I can advise (after seeking a legal opinion)  that my email below is public information and is not confidential.

 I have copied all Councillors as the email in question was sent to them all.

Regards

Sandy

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Sent: Sunday, 19 January 2020 9:18 a.m.
To: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: Confidential – Code of Conduct matter

Hi Sandy,

I understand that you want the Dyhrberg attachment to be confidential, but is there any reason for your email below to be confidential?

Cheers,

Lee

From: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Friday, 17 January 2020 at 3:11 PM
To: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Confidential – Code of Conduct matter

Dear Councillors

In confidence

Recently, a code of complaint against the Mayor was received from Cr Vandervis about a breach of confidence relating to the CEO appraisal process relating to the 12 November 2019 Council meeting.

An independent investigator was appointed as per the process in the Code of Conduct. As the complaint related to matters associated with the CEO, I was delegated responsibility for the process.

The investigator – Steph Dyhrberg –  has determined that there was a breach but that it was non-material. In the case of a non-material breach, the investigator informs the CEO and can make recommendations. The investigator’s decision and any recommendations are not open to challenge. The recommendations are non-binding.

Her report is attached for all Councillors information. This report is confidential as the matters discussed in it are non-public.

You will see from the report that there are a number of recommendations relating to operational and procedural matters. These recommendations have been reviewed and the recommended changes are being progressed. There will be a follow-up report on progress and the process improvements that have been made as a result.

If you have any questions, please direct them to me in the first instance.

Regards

Sandy

Sandy Graham

General Manager City Services               

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Wednesday, 17 June 2020 at 7:26 PM
To: Hamish McNeilly <hamish.mcneilly@stuff.co.nz>
Subject: FW: Code of Conduct – Issue #3

#3 – that an apology has been made to me by Mayor Hawkins? I have not identified an apology as yet.

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Thursday, 20 February 2020 at 11:38 PM
To: Polly Martin <Polly.Martin@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>, Sue Bidrose <Sue.Bidrose@dcc.govt.nz>, Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: Monthly Meetings with the Mayor

Hi Polly,

The idea of having monthly private meetings with Mayor Hawkins was to share ideas and confidences in a respectful setting.

Unfortunately Mayor Hawkins has since abused his position and passed on sensitive confidences of mine relating to our CEO from a non-public staff-excluded meeting about our CEO, and worse, has failed to acknowledge this breach of confidence and gross abuse of his position.

This disrespectful blabbing of my confidential motions to the very person they were confidential from, on top of his failure to recognise and respect my Council and business experience, voter preference, and RMA training in his appointments, make it pointless and possibly dangerous for me to engage in any Mayoral discussion without witnesses.

Private monthly meetings have therefore been rendered unworkable.

Kind regards,

Lee

From: Polly Martin <Polly.Martin@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Wednesday, 19 February 2020 at 8:59 AM
To: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Subject: Monthly Meetings with the Mayor

Hi Lee

I am about to arrange a monthly meeting for you and Aaron to catch up and I am unable to see your diary.

Are there times that won’t work for you or would you like me to just go ahead and arrange and you can get back to me with the dates that don’t work for you.

You may have another suggestion????

Thank you

Polly

 

Hawkins apologises for sharing information

Aaron Hawkins

Aaron Hawkins

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins has apologised to Dunedin city councillors after breaching the council’s code of conduct rules.Mr Hawkins shared confidential information from a public and staff-excluded meeting assessing council chief executive Sue Bidrose’s performance with Dr Bidrose last year.

And while in general the briefing Mr Hawkins gave was “usual”, some detail should have been kept confidential, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law partner Steph Dyhrberg found.

After investigating a complaint by Cr Lee Vandervis on the breach, in a 12-page finding obtained by the Otago Daily Times, Ms Dyhrberg determined the breach to be non-material, but recommended the council develop guidelines to ensure confidential matters were handled better — and that Mr Hawkins “apologise to Cr Vandervis and other members for his misjudgement”.

Mr Hawkins said this week when the council took office this triennium it inherited the chief executive performance review midway through “and I made changes to make it more inclusive of all elected members” but he should have made the process “clearer to all parties in advance”.

“I have apologised in writing to all of my elected colleagues for this oversight,” he said.

Ms Dyhrberg writes in her December report that at the staff-excluded November 12 meeting, a proposed “key performance indicator” for the council chief executive was raised.

Cr Vandervis proposed the chief executive should be “present and able” for 90% of normal working days.

At issue was how Dr Bidrose came to learn of the failed motion from the meeting when she wrote to all councillors a week later noting the matter of her attendance had not been raised with her previously, reminding councillors of their obligations to her as her employers.

Cr Vandervis complained the information was shared in such a way that future breaches could result in legal action.

Also, the confidentiality breach was compounded because Dr Bidrose shared the information with two of her staff.

When Mr Hawkins was interviewed for the investigation he did not recall discussing with Dr Bidrose who had put the matter up for a vote.

According to Ms Dyhrberg’s report, Mr Hawkins and Dr Bidrose travelled together by car to a meeting in Oamaru when they “chatted” about the performance review.

While councillors were “pretty happy” with her performance, one of two issues raised in conversation was the matter of the time Dr Bidrose spent in her office.

Dr Bidrose asked if Cr Vandervis had raised the issue, Ms Dyhrberg’s account states.

Dr Bidrose could not recall if Mr Hawkins said yes, “but she was certain he did not say no”.

Dr Bidrose then “put two and two together” as to who had raised the concern because of an official information request by Cr Vandervis into the amount of time she spent in her office.

Dr Bidrose then checked the minutes from the meeting she was excluded from, in order to correct the wording she used in her email to all councillors, which she also sent to communications staff due to interest in the issue at the time from the ODT.

While Dr Bidrose was found not have broken a council rule by authorising herself to see information from the staff-excluded meeting into her review, her power to do so should not be used “in that way”, Ms Dyhrberg advises.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s