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Minister won’t sack council, CEO

VICTORIAN Local Government Minister Marlene Kairouz will not sack South Gippsland Shire Council and chief executive officer Tim Tamlin.

A request to do so was made by the band of council watching ratepayers known as South Gippsland Action Group, but Ms Kairouz is refusing to intervene.

The action group cites a “tragic litany of actions and maladministration”, and a perceived breakdown in trust between councillors and the administration as justification for its call.

Group secretary Lindsay Love wrote to the minister, “We seek State Government intervention culminating with the dismissal of the shire council and the CEO, and the appointment of suitable administrators for a suitable time to resolve issues indicated.”

Mr Love claimed council was not communicating openly with ratepayers, including the action group, by not responding to its questions, and objected to Mr Tamlin’s censoring of questions put to council by the public.

The action group said the CEO was only happy to answer questions that were not sensitive but not those that “shed light on some maladministration activities”.

“The council and the CEO have nobbled us from asking questions. This process suggests they have something to hide. We need government intervention to allow suitable democratic processes to be restored,” Mr Love said.

He said council refused to answer its questions about spending at Yanakie and Long Jetty caravan parks, saying council’s management of the parks has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars being lost from the economy each year due to annual siteholders leaving.

The group accused council of forcing parties to take council to court to obtain answers. Mr Love cited the family company of Cr Jeremy Rich, Ansevata, and neighbours of  the Bald Hills Wind Farm as examples, with both cases involving those parties taking Supreme Court action, “costing the community large sums of money”.

When asked for comment about the action group’s call for the dismissals, council’s acting chief executive officer Faith Page said, “We are not aware of this. We suggest you contact the Minister for Local Government.”

Mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt said she had not been notified by the Local Government Minister or the action group of any impending or lodged action.

“The directions the organisation undertake will always be in the best interest of the community as a whole as not to waste public funds,” she said.

“We have so many exciting plans and priorities to make happen. Let’s keep focused on making them a reality.”

The State Government told The Star councils are responsible for employment matters in relation to their CEOs, including addressing any complaints in relation to them.
The Local Government Investigation and Compliance Inspectorate is responsible for investigating and prosecuting alleged breaches of the Local Government Act 1989.
The Victorian Information Commissioner is responsible for reviewing Freedom of Information decisions.
“Dismissal of a council through an Act of Parliament is the most serious intervention of the state, and is only considered where serious and systemic governance failures have been identified at a council,” a spokesperson said.
“In the past, this has occurred on the basis of reports by municipal monitors, Commissions of Inquiry or other integrity bodies.
“Local Government Victoria is not aware of any such reports in this instance.”

Mr Tamlin returns from annual leave today (Tuesday).

Fed up: South Gippsland Action Group secretary Lindsay Love, pictured left with treasurer Gus Blaauw, is calling for the removal of South Gippsland Shire Council and chief executive officer Tim Tamlin.

Fed up: South Gippsland Action Group secretary Lindsay Love, pictured left with treasurer Gus Blaauw, is calling for the removal of South Gippsland Shire Council and chief executive officer Tim Tamlin.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=23984

Posted by on Feb 6 2018. 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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