Despite promising to be a more transparent and all-embracing Christchurch mayor, it hasn't taken Sideshow Bob long to revert to type.

He ignored appeals to appoint one of the Labour-aligned councillors to the position of deputy mayor and instead gave the position to the mediocre Ngaire Button. Her main qualification is that she can always be guaranteed to do whatever Sideshow Bob wants her to do.

Now Bob is intent on stacking the board of Christchurch City Holdings Ltd (CCHL) with 'his people'.

There are apparently six councillors vying for the four positions on the board but the appointments are virtually a done deal given the people doing the interviews are all Sideshow Bob supporters - including company director Ray Polson and CCHL chairman Bruce Irvine. Oh, and the interviewing committee is headed by.....Ngaire Button.

What this means is that the present incumbents will be reappointed. They are loyal Sideshow Bob supporters Sue Wells and Barry Corbett. And Sideshow Bob himself.

Which means there is one position to be filled. It was formerly occupied by Councillor Bob Shearing, another Sideshow Bob supporter. But he was voted off the council in October.

So who could be his successor?

Well, gosh, its none other than Sideshow Bob's faithful right hand man and council CEO Tony Marryatt!

Yes Tony Marryatt, a employee of the council is applying for a position on a council owned company! It smells a bit fishy to me. Yes, there's definitely a whiff of something rotten coming from Sideshow Bob's office. And I'm not talking about his dirty old orange safety jacket.

I agree with Councillor Yani Johanson that it is 'strange' that the council chief executive is vying with councillors for the same position.

Of course what we are seeing is Sideshow Bob ensuring that the assets of the Christchurch City Council are kept within the firm control of Bob's right wing National Party-lovin' faction.

As usual, Marryatt isn't talking but Sideshow Bob is. He claims he didn't know Marryatt was applying for the position. It kind of makes you wonder what they actually do talk about over coffee and muffins in the morning. Earthquake safety jackets perhaps?

Seriously though there is just no way Marryatt would have of gone ahead with his application without Bob's tacit approval.

If the rigging of the appointment process isn't bad enough, Marryatt is all set to pick up another $35,000 in the form of CCHL directors fees.

Marryatt is presently doing it tough on only $480,000 a year.

It's estimated that CCHL work - basically attending meetings and reading a few papers - involves about 12-15 hours a month. Let's say fours a week. And for that four hours the financially bloated councillors pocket an additional $670.

Last year Sue Wells received a council salary of $121,000 while Barry Corbett got $118,000. Sideshow Bob received $225,000.

Isn't it good to know that our council 'representatives' are sharing the burden of these tough economic times?

Jim Anderton, of course, had plans to derail the CCHL gravy train but,unfortunately, a big earthquake intervened and Sideshow Bob fooled enough people to get himself re-elected.

Which means that Sideshow Bob, Barry Corbett, Sue Wells and almost certainly Tony Marryatt will be able to keep their snouts in the CCHL trough.


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