I had a lengthy conversation yesterday with Faye Storer regarding the recent allocation of roles in the local board. I allowed Faye to give her explanation of what is going on. I listened carefully, so that I could understand her position. It was also the first time we’ve ever spoken together.There were many reasons cited why Denise has been functionally excluded, but I could not say that any of the points were substantiated, they served more as justifications or rationalizations.
The following are verifiable facts
- Denise was not a part of the consultation process- she was handed a list of pre-determined roles which she had no part in making up
- Four against one is the dynamic that has been stated repeatedly
- Denise is publicly characterized as “Green” and “Extreme Green” and is being pigeonholed as having suitability for only a limited role on the board
This is the most important thing to keep in mind:
An effective chairman brings disparate groups together, is inclusive and adept at delegating. An effective chairman finds common ground and works behind the scenes to keep relationships strong and productive. So what Faye has to demonstrate to Waiheke is NOT that she can get three other board members to support her, but rather that she can is capapable of acting in Waiheke’s best interest. What is best for Waiheke is that both past councillors share a balance of responsibility in a way that authentically honors both, not one at the expense of the other.
NONE of this had to happen this way. We all knew from the start that both Faye and Denise would win. The top question on everyone’s mind, voiced many times during the election was, “Will Faye be able to put aside the events of three years ago and build a positive, constructive relationship with Denise?” Because it is public knowledge that Denise has made various attempts to build a constructive relationship with Faye outside the campaign and has been rebuffed. This is the elephant in the room that no one is talking about.
This is a problem that everyone saw coming a mile away. Faye has had ample time to meet with Denise and work things out, but this course of action has been avoided. The lip service to ‘working together’ will not hold up in the long run and this is exactly the hamstringing of Waiheke that everyone feared. This is short-sighted political thinking and will hurt the community as well as the local board’s effectiveness.
It is quite easy to come up with a good spin to justify various board actions, but over time the true intentions surface, and the board will lose the trust of the community. This problem could fester and haunt the board for the next three years. Waiheke will not tolerate a return to the block-voting tactics of the C&R- dominated City Council we just left behind. Waiheke needs the kind of inclusive board that is in line with Len Brown’s style of management.
The newly-elected board members may feel that since they were elected, their personal political views are endorsed. That would be a fatal mistake. This board needs to prove that it can live up to the glib election promises of working together.
If this were a kindergarten class, the situation would be dealt with by having the disputing parties engage in a project together, to allow them time to get to know each other and actually experience working together.
My wacky suggestion is for this local board to attend one or more Waka Ama practices together- perhaps weekly. I’m serious, pulling together is more than just a cliche. This community will accept nothing less than real teamwork.
Thank you for your time,