Mayor fears powers will be eroded

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By Sieska Verdonk

Horowhenua District Council is considering a proposal to change its reporting structure and Mayor Michael Feyen is not happy about it.

"I do not support losing any of my mayoral powers to somebody who is unelected," says Mr Feyen.

The proposal was made at an extraordinary meeting of the council last night - held behind closed doors. Members of the public who'd come to watch proceedings were forced to leave.

Mayor Feyen walked out before the meeting wrapped up because of concerns the new structure may erode his ability to direct the Chief Executive Officer - or CEO - who is not an elected official.

"The meeting was really about who has the power in the council building in a lot of ways. And I'm not prepared to cede my governance as a mayor to a CE," says Mr Feyen.

The mayor's deputy, Wayne Bishop wouldn't discuss the details of the proposal, saying it is not appropriate to comment on what happens in closed committees.

"So what I can say is that collectively as a council we were highly disappointed with the commentary that the mayor put forward in the open part of that meeting to the point that we are really worried about exposure to council and we are really disappointed in the irresponsible nature of that commentary," says Mr Bishop.

It is just the latest twist in a series of dramas that have unfolded since Mr Feyen was elected mayor last September.

He says he'll continue to fight what he sees as attempts to curtail his powers.

Sieska Verdonk - Local Focus

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