An independent review of the Invercargill City Council, made public today, says long-time Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt is struggling to do his job.
The review, triggered by the Department of Internal Affairs after it raised concerns about the council’s governance in August, said it was “increasingly obvious” that Shabolt, 73, had “difficulty in discharging many of the normal duties of a mayor”.
The “clear consensus” of Shadbolt’s ability to continue in the role had left a leadership void, the review said.
“There is no working relationship between the Mayor and the CEO and the appointment of [Councillor Nobby] Clark as the new Deputy Mayor may … risk destabilising this interface further.
“It should be stated up front, however, Sir Tim has never been a ‘standard’ Mayor and he would acknowledge this. He has always seen himself as a promoter for Invercargill, rather than a ‘policy and process’ mayor.”
The report continued: "The Mayor appears, according to most of those interviewed, to be struggling to follow Council agendas and papers without assistance, although a couple of participants see that as a situational issue rather than cognitive difficulties.
"Many interviewees reported a range of obvious concerns including short term memory deficits, confusion, and the need to be closely managed by both Council staff and senior Councillors in order to chair a Council meeting."
In response to the report, Shadbolt rubbished its contents, Stuff reported.
“The actual content of the report I’m not willing to wear. The report will have you believe that the dysfunction of this current council rests squarely on myself and my new deputy Nobby Clark,” he said.
“I consider the report flawed and does not mention a single other councillor … as a contributor to the ongoing conflict and jostling for power at the council.”
He said he “never” considered resigning in response to the report’s findings.
Shadbolt also repeated his belief the council didn't give him enough staff to support him in the role.
The review was written by two independent consultants who interviewed Shadbolt, all city councillors and senior council staff.