Bob wants Tony Marryatt reappointed as CEO of the Christchurch City Council. The problem for Bob is that powerful local business interests don't agree with him.
It's another Sideshow Bob debacle!
Although the Christchurch City Council decided to advertise the position of Chief Executive Officer for a five year term, Bob has gone into bat for his pal and loyal right hand man Tony Marryatt
He has made it clear that he wants Marryatt reappointed and now it has emerged that Sideshow has told councillors that he would even 'consider' resigning if he didn't get his way.
At a closed meeting last week he even tried to pressure all his councillors into supporting Marryatt by demanding of each councillor if they 'supported' his good mate. I understand that some councillors basically told Sideshow 'to get stuffed'.
Bob has now opened the Council to legal action . If Marryatt is reappointed then unsuccessful applicants could challenge the appointment , legitimately arguing that the process had been stacked against them from the start.
While Bob thinks Tony is the next best thing to sliced bread, its not a opinion held by all councillors and, significantly, it looks like Marryatt is out of favour with local business interests.
The Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce and the Canterbury Business Leaders Group, in a letter to the Christchurch City Council commented that the role of the CEO needs to be "'broader than required in the past and at an exceptional level'.
The letter goes on to say:
'The relationship with business leaders in particular must be with us as partner investors in the future of our city, not just as another group of ratepayers. We are sure as councillors you will agree with us on this.
'We respectfully request that you, as elected representatives of the people of Christchurch, take the time to review the CEO appointment process very carefully.'
It was signed by Solid Energy chief executive Don Elder, for the business leaders, and chamber chief executive Peter Townsend - a man who was very critical of the Henderson bailout and is known to have a close ally in the Minister for Earthquake Recovery, Gerry Brownlee.
The implication is obvious - local business don't think Marryatt is up to the job.
Much of this disquiet emerged after the September quake. The Council was slow to react and very little recovery work was done. Then the February quake hit.
Bob, having received the original letter, tried to stop it being sent to the Council. So much for his election promise to be 'more accountable and transparent'.
Bob made a flurry of phone calls.
Don Elder received several calls from Sideshow but politely gave him the brush-off.
'I explained that this letter was perhaps the mildest of the many views that had been expressed and if we did not send this letter we might anticipate two things happening – first, a headline something like `Mayor silences business group', which we both agreed would be in no-one's interest, and second, he and councillors would be likely to receive a range of much stronger and less measured or constructive correspondence and messages, either directly or through the media."
Elder wasn't the only person who had the 'pleasure' of a phone call from Bob.
In a email leaked to the media, chamber president Peter Davie, the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch chief executive, said that he had received 'a very heated call from the mayor'.
It looks the February quake, in particular, has put a strain on 'the old boys network' and cracks have begun to emerge.