Tauranga City Council will hold an emergency public meeting on Friday over strained relationships between elected members.
It will consider bringing in a Government "review and observer team" to monitor the council, following months of headlines about clashes among the mayor and councillors.
The move comes after the conflict gained the attention of the Department of Internal Affairs and the Local Government Minister.
Minister Nanaia Mahuta told the Bay of Plenty Times the department had been alerted to reports of conflict through media articles and other correspondence.
"The department has been in contact with the council's chief executive and mayor to understand the extent of the problems and the steps being taken to resolve the issues.
"They are working with the council on how it can resolve its differences and represent its community with unified leadership."
She said the department was keeping her updated but she expected the council to sort out its own problems.
In a statement today, the council said members would meet on Friday to consider a report on governance issues and recommend a plan to address elected member's relationship issues.
Chief executive Marty Grenfell said the proposed action was in response to the department asking for assurance and evidence the council was taking proactive steps to "restore trust and confidence in its ability to meet the Crown's expectations of a high-performing council".
He said the department sought information so it could advise the Minister on what action she may need to take under part 10 of the Local Government Act.
"The minister has the power to assist or intervene in such situations. We believe that by initiating the appointment of a Review and Observer Team to monitor interactions and performance and report both to council and department, the council can establish a path forward which can promote more constructive working relationships between councillors and between the mayor and councillors."
He said the elected member relationship issues were "mainly manifested in forums outside of the council chambers".
The council's formal decision-making processes had not been significantly impacted thus far.
"There continues to be a strong and effective working relationship between the elected members and the executive leadership of council.
"We have strong leadership capability within the organisation and staff are continuing to get on with the job of running the city, planning for its future and dealing with the pressures created by Covid-19 and our rapid growth."
Grenfell said the proposed action to be proactively considered by the council would largely replicate the arrangements the Local Government Minister could make.
The proposed review and observer team would be focusing on support, and monitoring and reporting on progress in restoring the strong, unified leadership needed to advance the city's interests.
If the recommended action is adopted, the chief executive will report back within two weeks with:
- a draft terms of reference for the review and observer team
- membership recommendations (in consultation with the department)
- cost estimates and a budget approval request, and
- a summary of the key decisions the council will need to make, for submission to the department, to deliver on next year's 2021-31 long-term plan and on the city's SmartGrowth objectives.
The department's involvement comes after months of headlines about clashes inside the council focused largely on the mayor and a group of four councillors he says are working against him.
Powell has been accused of "blowing up" in internal council meetings and some councillors have complained of a toxic culture among elected members.