Len's done nothing wrong? What the Code of Conduct says
From his Council's Code of Conduct (my bolding of the relevant parts):
The objectives of a Code of Conduct are to set out:
the conduct of members toward one another, staff and public;
how information is disclosed;
legislation that applies to the actions of members;
the relationship between elected members and management.
The objective of the code is to meet the requirements as summarised in 2.6 of the Code and to enhance:
the effectiveness of the Auckland Council in meeting its statutory responsibilities for good local government;
the credibility and accountability of the Council within its community; and
mutual trust, respect and tolerance between all elected members and between elected members and management.
5. Key Principles
5.2. Honesty and Integrity Members have a duty to act honestly and with integrity at all times.
5.4. Declare private interests
Members must declare any private interests or personal benefits relating to their public duties and take steps to resolve any conflicts of interest in such a way that protects the public interest. This means fully disclosing actual or potential conflicts of interest; avoiding any financial or other obligation to any individual or organisation that might reasonably be thought to influence them in the performance of their duties.
Members should make decisions on merit and in accordance with their statutory obligations when carrying out public business. This includes the making of appointments, awarding of contracts or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits. This means fairness to all; impartial assessment; merit selection in appointments and in purchase and sale of council’s resources; considering only relevant matters.
Members are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and should consider issues on their merits, taking into account the views of others. This means co-operating fully and honestly with the scrutiny appropriate to their particular office.
Members should be as open as possible about their actions and those of the Council and should be prepared to justify their actions. This includes approaching decision-making with an open mind and a willingness to listen to differing points of view. This means giving reasons for decisions; communicating clearly; not being close minded and taking personal ownership of comments made publicly.
Members should treat others, including council officers, with respect at all times. This means not using derogatory terms towards others, or about others, including in public-facing new media; not misrepresenting the statements or actions of others (whether they be other individual members, the Governing Body, Local Boards, committees or officers); observing the rights of other people; treating people with courtesy, and recognising the different roles others play in local government decision-making.
5.9. Duty to Uphold the Law
Members should uphold the law and, on all occasions, act in accordance with the trust the public places in them.
Members should ensure that the Council uses resources prudently and for lawful purposes, and that the Council maintains sufficient resources to meet its statutory obligations.
Members should promote and support these principles by example.
7. Relationships and Behaviours
7.2. Relationships with Chief Executive and Staff
The effective performance of the Council also requires a high level of cooperation and mutual respect between elected members and staff. To ensure that level of cooperation and trust is maintained, elected members will:
make themselves aware of the obligations that the Council and the Chief Executive have as employers and observe those requirements at all times;
treat all employees with courtesy and respect (including the avoidance of aggressive, offensive or abusive conduct towards employees);
observe any guidelines that the Chief Executive puts in place regarding contact with employees;
not do anything which compromises, or could be seen as compromising, the impartiality of an employee;
avoid publicly criticising any employee in any way, but especially in ways that reflect on the competence and integrity of the employee;
7.7. Conflicts of Interest
Attached as Appendix 1 to this Code is the Council’s Conflicts of Interest Policy. It is a requirement of this Code of Conduct that all elected members fully acquaint themselves with, and adhere strictly to, its requirements. These cover two classes of conflict of interest:
A financial conflict of interest
A non-financial conflict of interest does not have a direct personal financial component. It may arise, for example, from a personal relationship, or involvement with a non-profit organisation, or from conduct that indicates prejudice or predetermination.
The policy also requires elected members to make full and complete annual declarations of interest.
The Auckland Council seeks to promote the highest standards of ethical conduct amongst its elected members. Accordingly, elected members will:
claim only for legitimate expenses as laid down by any determination of the Remuneration Authority then in force, and any policy of the Council developed in accordance with that determination;
not influence, or attempt to influence, any Council employee to take actions that may benefit the member, or the member’s family or business interests;
not use Council resources for personal business;
not solicit, demand, or request any gift, reward or benefit by virtue of their position. 8. Compliance
8.2. Lodging of Code of Conduct Complaints
All complaints must be addressed to the Chief Executive (or his or her nominee). Any allegation of a breach of the Code must relate to Section 7 of the Code, be in writing, make a specific allegation of a breach of the Code and provide corroborating evidence.
Complaints alleging a breach of the Code of Conduct may be made by any elected member or by the Chief Executive acting on behalf of staff or on behalf of a complaint from a CCO conveyed through that CCOs chief executive.
The Chief Executive may determine whether a complaint from a member of the public concerning an elected member constitutes a question of breach of the Code of Conduct. In making this determination, the Chief Executive may consult a convenor of the Independent Conduct Review Panel. The Chief Executive may determine jointly with a convenor of the Independent Review Panel to dismiss or terminate a complaint from a member of the public on grounds which may include that the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or has been adequately resolved.
8.3. Preliminary Steps
The Chief Executive may request from the complainant further information/ evidence in support of the complaint and, if considered appropriate, may also request a preliminary statement in response from the elected member against whom the complaint is lodged.
8.8. Responses to Breaches of the Code
To avoid doubt, a breach of the Code of Conduct does not constitute an offence under the Local Government Act 2002. The exact nature of the action the governing body/local board may take depends on the nature of the breach and whether there are statutory provisions dealing with the breach Where there are no statutory provisions, the governing body or local board may take the following action:
removal of the elected member from representative type bodies;
dismissal of the elected member from a position as Chair or Deputy Chair of a committee.
A decision to apply one or more of these actions requires a resolution to that effect.
Contrary to what Len's political backers are claiming there are several grounds upon which he could be at fault in the conduct of these trysts. Using the arse of the advisor he appointed (and who he would soon be considering for re-appointment) to polish the table in the Ngati Whatua Room at the Town Hall while his daks are round his ankles - and while a mortified security guard looks on (knowing full well he would be sacked for the same behaviour) - is a conduct issue now it is in the public domain. Allegations His Worship engaged in heavy breathing sex calls and wanking at his work desk in the Mayoral office during work hours all in pursuit - persistent, stalkerish pursuit according to the allegations - of one of his appointees is of public interest.
If what Len has been up to is all kosher then what does that say about the standards at Auckland Council and his future behaviour? What example is Len setting for the dozens of elected officials and the thousands of staff he leads? Is it a Town Hall or Len's love nest? Too busy drilling the help and not enough helping to drill the terminably delayed city rail tunnel. No wonder Len has been so invigorated... but so distracted.
So the mistress - as a staff member (an advisor to the Mayor appointed by the Mayor) - may complain via the CEO, or a member of the public may complain via the CEO. There is definitely a case for Len to answer beyond the personal and family crisis he has brought upon himself. All it takes is for one person to complain and the shit ball starts rolling.
UPDATE 17/10/2013 3pm:
NZ Herald reporting:
Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay is this afternoon expected to announce an inquiry into the Len Brown sex scandal.
The decision was made following inquiries from the New Zealand Herald about whether Mr Brown's affair breached the council's code of conduct and conflict of interest policies.
That was predictable, but a bit quicker than I imagined.