Unlike a company owner or manager, the Mayor doesn't control the purse strings directly. Yes there is a lot of influence and direction, but it is the various offices and administrations that do the real spending.
So what can a Mayor do, to help control the expenditure?
I believe the Mayor is the spokesperson for the city and that means the Mayor is the spokesperson for the people.
So, on behalf of the people, armed with a small team of carefully selected staffers, the Mayor should be looking into every single dollar going out the door, finding if it is justified or not, and if not, collating solutions and suggestions to get things back under control. This is what I will be doing.
From there, it is the Mayor's job to take the recommendations to not just the Councillors, but also the COO and CEO - the people at the top of the food chain.
Then, finally, to really make it work, the Mayor should be constantly informing the public about the finds, the suggested remedies, and the truth about what does or doesn't get fixed.
Councils and Governments are the same in one particular aspect - they like to make out as though the money is theirs, and that they are doing us all a favour by spending it on things they think we want. (but often is simply things they want).
The rhetoric needs to change. Council needs to treat your money with respect, and it needs to work budgets like a regular household does. Along with that, it needs to stop the spin doctoring and be brutally open and honest about it all.
As I regularly state, if you can't afford something, you don't do it.
I invite you to click the button below to peruse the long list of spends for Auckland Council (excluding CCOs). These are the suppliers with a spend equal to or greater than $50,000 for the financial period 1st July 2019 to 31st January 2020.