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I want to help, says monitor

MUNICIPAL monitor Peter Stephenson said he wants to help South Gippsland Shire Council be its best.
He has been appointed to observe council by Victorian Local Government Minister Marlene Kairouz at the request of the Local Government Inspectorate. This followed concerns about council’s meeting procedures, processes to manage conflicts of interest, and the management of confidential information.
His role will cost council up to $1200 a day. Mr Stephenson said he would provide feedback to mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt and councillors “in due course”. As of last Thursday, he was yet to have a conversation with them.
“While I think there will be areas that council needs to improve in terms of the way meetings are conducted, the way the processes are conducted and so on, I will provide that advice to the mayor and the councillors and the administration,” he said.
Mr Stephenson will talk to councillors collectively and individually, as well as staff and council’s executive team about governance issues.
Mr Stephenson said he was not conducting an investigation, but would rather “observe and assist where appropriate”. His term will be for a maximum of 12 months.
While in South Gippsland, he will stay at his Inverloch property, saving ratepayers’ accommodation costs. During Mr Stephenson’s first ordinary council meeting last Wednesday, councillors were largely collegiate, voted unanimously on many items, and praised staff and each other. Even Cr Don Hill, who often called for council to improve, said, “I think this council is the best one this shire has had for a long time.” Another outspoken councillor, Cr Andrew McEwen – the subject of an inspectorate investigation in relation to a leaked email – said, “We now have proper leadership of the councillors”.

• Municipal monitor
Peter Stephenson.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=25301

Posted by on Jul 3 2018. Filed under 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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