Government silent on council’s future

THE State Government has refused to answer if South Gippsland Shire Council was not dismissed before the recent state election because of concerns doing so would impact the government’s reputation before the crucial poll.
A government spokesperson avoided the question from The Star, only saying the new Victorian Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek will receive an update from municipal monitor Peter Stephenson “in due course, as work continues to improve the governance of South Gippsland Shire Council”.
The spokesperson said Mr Stephenson “is assisting the council to ensure its governance practices reflect the standards expected by the community. This includes assisting and advising the council about its meeting procedures, as well as policies and processes to manage conflicts of interest, confidential information and councillor conduct.”
The former local government minister, Marlene Kairouz, appointed Mr Stephenson to oversee council’s meetings after a recommendation by the chief municipal inspector.
Mayor Cr Don Hill did not wish to answer a question from The Star about whether he was confident the council would see out the remaining two years of its term. He said there was no basis for the question to be asked.
He also dismissed concerns raised with The Star about new policies he has introduced regarding communication between councillors.
“Since becoming mayor I have instigated agreed meeting norms within the councillor group which has met with favourable acceptance by the group,” he said.
“Meetings and other sessions are flowing more smoothly and with better behaviour than has been the case in the past.
“Guidance from the monitor on ways to improve our working relations have been implemented since his arrival in June and learnings of the group have occurred, leading to better practice in councillor relations and working practices.
“We continue as a group to focus on the outcomes for the community, as evidenced by an 11 hour meeting day where we worked through an enormous amount of agenda with proper process and proper behaviours.”
The monitor, Mr Stephenson, said, “I will continue to report to the minister, whether it is monthly, five weekly or six weekly, I will continue to submit reports.”
He said the minister would determine how long he remains in South Gippsland. He currently attends all council meetings and briefings, including confidential sessions closed to the public.
“I’m still providing advice as required to the council in accordance with my terms of reference,” Mr Stephenson said.

In the chair: South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Cr Don Hill chairs a council meeting recently.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=27071

Posted by on Jan 8 2019. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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