Sideshow Bob got all upset last week when some troublesome councillors tried to get some accountability and transparency on the consultancy contracts his pal Tony Marryatt has been dishing out. And, after promising not to say anything more about Marryatt until the appointment process to pick a new CEO was over, he's not only been praising his pal 'Tony' again but apologising to him because some councillors had the bad taste to criticise him!
The Christchurch City Council has blown nearly $3 million of ratepayers money on 'consultants' and, to their credit, a number of councillors are not happy about it - and they attempted to do something about it at last Thursday's council meeting.
In response, Sideshow Bob threw one of his tantrums and tried to stifle debate. Sadly, but not surprising, he had the support of councillors like Ngaire Button, Sue Wells and Barry Corbett. They too think they can do what they like, when they like - and bugger the consequences.
Five councillors though have pointed out that council staff (ie Tony Marryatt) exceeded their legal spending authority of up to $500,000 in approving a consultant's contract for work on the post-earthquake central city plan.
Impact Project Management have been paid nearly $900,000.
Marryatt and co, as I've pointed out previously, have also ignored advice from the Ministry of Economic Development.
In an advisory note on procurement 'to provide guidance and support to agencies responding to the Canterbury Earthquake' the Ministry states that while agencies, in an emergency situation can 'forgo routine procurement procedures', it warns:
'In adopting an flexible approach to procurement, agencies should be mindful of being fair to suppliers and open about their approach and why it is being adopted.'
It goes on to say that:
'Wherever responsible agencies are encouraged to seek some level of competition and achieve value for money.'
And the Ministry reminds agencies like the Christchurch City Council:
'Agencies' staff should be mindful of acting within their delegated authority'.
All the above seems to have been disregarded by Sideshow Bob, Tony Marryatt and Mike Theelen, the council's 'strategy and planning group general manager'. He is, of course, directly accountable to Marryatt.
The five councillors tried to get some accountability from Sideshow Bob and his chums.
Tim Carter said that he had 'a suspicion' that the granting of an $878,936 contract to Impact Project Management without council approval 'was being kept from us on purpose'.
Carter pointed out that the figure in the annual plan documents tabled at the meeting was the first time he and other councillors had known about it. And this was despite having emailed questions for more than two months asking staff how they would allocate work to consultants.
Sideshow Bob's response to the councillors trying to get some answers was to throw one of his all too familiar tantrums.
If he can't get his own way, Bob simply changes the rules to suit himself.
Bob who, during the mayoral campaign , promised to be 'more open and accountable' threatened to throw Carter out the meeting, describing his comments as 'pathetic'.
He then refused to allow Jimmy Chen to talk on the issue.
At the council elections Chen stood for the Labour-aligned 2021 team. One of his main policy platforms was to promote 'open and transparent governance in the Council’s decision making process.' Jimmy has rapidly discovered he is a dealing with a Mayor who believes in openness and transparency only when everyone agrees with him.
Crs Carter, Chen, Yani Johanson, Jamie Gough and Glenn Livingstone failed in their attempt to pass a resolution expressing 'concern and dissatisfaction' at the breach of the spending cap and at the 'lack of an open process' to determine who would get contracts for the central city plan.
Johanson said papers clearly showed the Impact Project Management contract was signed on May 12, well after the state of emergency ended on April 30.
'You can't get away from democracy because of the size of the natural disaster. This is about councillors being in control of the city and being prudent with resources.'
Johanson though is trying to push water uphill here as Sideshow Bob has been anything but prudent with resources.
Among other things, he bailed out his mate and failed property developer Dave Henderson to the tune of $17 million. He spent $5 million on a garden show and he is presently throwing even more millions at the lame duck Christchurch City Council Civic Offices that have been barely been open since the official opening in August last year.
And then there is the debacle surrounding the AMI Stadium. The Christchurch ratepayer is being forced to bail out the stadium's operator, Vbase. That's another $74 million wasted we can chalk up to Sideshow Bob and his cronies.
It will come as no surprise that Sue 'Double Dipper' Wells (who still harbours mayoral ambitions. Ha ha.) came to the defence of her beloved Sideshow Bob.
The pompous Wells said that the complaints were 'pedantic, nitpicking. And now we are getting the noose out? I'm really gutted by that. I want to distance myself as far as possible from this."
She then disappeared back up Sideshow Bob's arse, where she spends most of her time.
Readers will recall that it was Ms Wells who told us that the Henderson bailout was 'a very good deal' and those of us who opposed it were 'stupid'.
But Sideshow Bob wouldn't be Sideshow Bob if he didn't shoot himself in the foot.
While he was busy trying to strangle the democratic process, Bob thought it would be good idea to praise Tony Marryatt.
Marryatt is under threat of losing his job as CEO and, after publicly coming out in support of 'Tony', Sideshow Bob claimed he was 'standing aside' from the appointment process.
But, despite being roundly condemned for tainting the whole appointment process, Sideshow Bob was back to his old interfering ways at Thursday's council meeting.
Not only did he say that Marryatt's work had been 'outstanding', he actually apologised to 'Tony' because some horrible councillor's had dared to criticise him!