Edward Mandla
Removing Councillors from Corporate Sponsorship Approvals

Published On: 08/12/2014

My ears pricked in Briefings when I heard the proposal to allow unelected officials to approve incoming corporate sponsorships and the elected officials being told of the decision quarterly in arrears.

I understand the reasoning behind this motion and commend the sentiment behind it, but as an elected official I regret to say I canít support. That doesnít mean I condemn those who have proposed it.

The essential elements of this motion are to ask for sponsorship agreements without recourse to review in the first instance by this Chamber. That is a situation that canít be allowed.

The overwhelming majority of Corporate Sponsorship is made by well-meaning and public-spirited organisations.

There is nothing ostensibly wrong with it and it is both welcome and appreciated. It must be subject to review in the first instance in the same way a political donation would be.

It has been a topical issue in recent times of the effect of receiving monies and the effect it may have upon Governance. Sound Governance must be maintained not just in fact, but also in appearance.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, the buck stops in this Chamber with my fellow Councillors.

We are the people elected to do so and our actions legitimised by the ballot box. Thatís the way the system works.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course. Many of you may be asking yourselves, ďWhat could possibly go wrong?Ē Thatís always the thing isnít it? We donít know what the future brings.

A few days before Enron filed paperwork admitting it had fudged financial statements for five years, the then US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan accepted the Enron Award for Distinguished Public Service.

The Fed chair formerly known as the Maestro might have thought twice about associating himself with Kenneth Lay and Enron, there are similar tales with HIH Insurance.

Iím sure if he had his time again, he would have acted differently. Iím equally sure beforehand he thought to himself, ďwhat could possibly go wrong?Ē

When something does go wrong, as it will, the buck must stop here and as an elected representative I stand ready to share my part of the blame. Itís not possible for an unelected official to do so.

I appreciate the hard work our people do in arranging sponsorships, I ask for them to be sent here for review in the first instance so we may be held accountable if something goes wrong and to maintain our commitment to probity in fact and appearance.

Edward Mandla
December 2014

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