The Special Knysna Council Meeting of August 25 was revealing. By, now, most of you will have read ‘Knysna Municipal Manager AWOL… then Suspended’. But here’s a blow by blow account of the band-aid selection of 2 Acting Directors and the Acting Municipal Manager. Understand the severity of the situation – that’s half the municipal leadership!
Speaker Georlene Wolmarans began by addressing why the agenda had initially barred the public from attending. She never mentioned my complaint and the subsequent opening of the meeting but stated that she’d discovered that it was on “instruction from the Municipal Manager [Grant Easton].” She went on to say that she’d, “overruled that.”
As would be proven over the next week, Easton was far too easy a scapegoat for the Democratic Alliance.
Wolmaran’s words didn’t add up. Municipal officials may compile the agenda but it’s the Speaker that calls the meetings. For a Special Meeting to take place she’d have to have consulted with the Mayor and the Municipal Manager. Consequently, she must have known the agenda and its status of secrecy.
The ANC made the ridiculous comment that changing the agenda from green to white was a waste of printing money i.e. secret agendas are printed on green paper, public agendas on white. I don’t believe that transparency and honesty should have a printing price.
More importantly, Mayor Eleonore Bouw-Spies pointed out the glaring lack of Municipal Manager Grant Easton’s presence in the room. “I received no apology from the Municipal Manager… he has not told any of us that he’s not coming.”
It was then questioned what legalities would govern the proceeding in his absence.
Legal Advisor Melony Paulsen said that, “Absent without leave for purpose of employment – without sufficient reason, an acting Municipal Manager must be appointed.”
Bevan Ellman pointed out that Director of Planning Mike Maughan-Brown was designated as the Acting Municipal Manager but he’d quit months before. Ellman believed that he was next in line and sought clarification of such.
Before he got an answer, ANC Chief Whip Victor Malosi proposed that Director Technical Services Michael Rhode be appointed. Rhode indicated, with a laugh, that he didn’t want the position. Even though a temporary expediency, it was obvious that this meeting was to be a hot potato few would want to carry.
Ellman was then appointed as Acting Municipal Manager for the meeting…