Struggling to find a job? Try contacting the democracy services manager at the Auckland City Council.
The bureaucrat who serves behind that delicious title is one Christine Watson, who has hired a failed restaurateur to manage the council’s catering business.
Now that dear old Winston Peters has become a failed politician, he should try his luck with Christine Watson. She just might find him a nice little council job, like – well, mayor, or something.
The story of the catering appointment is told in the NZ Herald today –
Megan Watson was hired in April to jazz up the food and reduce waste at the council’s cafeteria, five months after her last restaurant business, the CAC bar and eatery in Mt Eden, was placed in liquidation.
The business, jointly owned by Ms Watson and Anthony Joseph, failed after Inland Revenue filed a claim for outstanding income tax, GST and PAYE totalling $438,855.
Another company owned by the pair that operated a restaurant in Albany, a delicatessen and a tavern was placed in liquidation in April 2004. On that occasion, Inland Revenue was owed $126,095 for unpaid GST and PAYE and five unsecured creditors a total of $153,505.
CAC liquidators PricewaterhouseCoopers also discovered that Ms Watson and Mr Joseph had overdrawn a large sum of money from the current accounts, but attempts to obtain payment or reach settlement were unsuccessful. The liquidator has begun legal proceedings in the High Court to recover the money.
The NZ Herald says it could not reach Megan Watson for comment, but it did get hold of Christine Watson, who “was baffled at questions about the manager’s business background.”
Asked if Ms Watson’s business character was appropriate for an employee of the council, Christine Watson laughed and said: “That’s amazing … I’m not sure what you are saying.”
One of the council’s goals is to “recruit and appoint the right people to the right positions”.
Christine Watson said she did not know the specific details about the failure of Ms Watson’s businesses, but knew enough about her background to give her confidence that she was the right person for the job. She had no financial responsibilities and her personal debts were a private matter.
Alf wonders if the newspaper tried to establish whether the two Watsons are related.
He also wonders how come the council catering services come under the management of “democracy services”.
Oh, and what does the council’s catering business actually do and how big is its budget?