A blogger for Auckland Transport Board?

The Herald reports:

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff supports a blogger joining the board after leaving two councillors off the board.

Last week, Goff announced two council appointments on the board would remain vacant for now to look at the best form of accountability for Auckland Transport and other council-controlled organisations.

He was not convinced having councillors on the board – Mike Lee and Chris Fletcher have been board members for six years – and subject to secrecy provisions was the best form of accountability.

I agree that having Councillors on the board didn’t actually help accountability. It conflicted them in their roles.

Patrick Reynolds, of the Transport Blog, has applied for an observer role on the board, despite the blog stating it “is not associated in any way with Auckland Transport”.

Reynolds is seeking a customer focus committee board observer role – a non-voting and unpaid position.

In a letter to the board, Reynolds said he was a highly engaged customer and commentator on Auckland Transport issues who believed his “other side of the counter” perspective would be extremely valuable.

“There is now significant commonality between our aims and official AT policy. We are highly aligned with AT,” Reynolds said.

Today, Reynolds said he applied for a board position earlier in the year and received no formal notification of any position being decided.

Reynolds said if he got a board role “I would likely cease posting on the blog, or only do so with full disclosure and approval of the board. Like all boards there is a confidentiality agreement to adhere to.”

Patrick is a very smart guy on transport issues, and could be a strong contender for a place on the board. The Auckland Transport blog has had a strong impact on transport debate in Auckland.

But I don’t think you can or should create a special new role of non-voting unpaid observer on the board who has access to all the information, but none of the responsibility of decision making.

If Patrick is seen as having the skills and knowledge to be a productive and constructive director, then Goff should appoint him to the Board as a full director.

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