Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Clarence Valley Council's governance problems get a passing mention in local media again

Excerpt from Item 13.197/13 Clarence Valley Council Ordinary Meeting Minutes 17 September 2013:

2. This matter be referred to the internal audit committee due to the inconsistencies 
presented to Council including but not limited to 
a. The report to a Council meeting in May 2011 that council had received no 
response to its invitation for expressions of interest to lease the proposed café;
b. The report to Council after the 2012 Councillor elections, that Council has 
received an EOI despite the absence of a further EOI advertisement after the 
initial report;
c. The report to Council in late 2012 seeking and gaining approval for construction 
of a café as shown on the sketch plan accompanying that report;
d. The report to council of September 2013 showing a construction proposal of a 
café of double the floor area showed in this approval of late 2012; and
e. The inclusion of lessees fitout items in the second enlarged plan that were absent 
in the approved plan.
3. The internal audit committee be requested to provide a response to the November 2013 meeting or earlier.

The Daily Examiner 19 September 2013:

After the election, Cr Williamson congratulated his deputy, Cr Howe and the beaten challengers, Crs Toms and Baker.
Before the meeting, Cr Toms said she had decided to stand for mayor because she was disappointed with some aspects the way the council had been run.
Cr Toms outlined five points:
She believed council was not providing councillors with accurate information; was refusing to answer questions; had shut down debate; endangered a grant application and had spent money without authorisation.
"What concerns and disappoints me most is that the current Mayor considers the council is working well despite the above-mentioned points," she said.

These are serious concerns set out above and Clarence Valley residents and ratepayers deserve a public response from Council.

A growing lack of openness and transparency, deliberate misrepresentation of past ordinary general meeting resolutions, failure to properly record motions in the minutes, failure of at least one councillor to absent when pecuniary interests were involved in matter being discussed, what appears to be a deliberate restriction of the flow of information to Council in the Chamber, management acting without councillors knowledge or consent, a series of project cost over-runs, misuse of a trust fund, behind the scenes threat/s, attempts to bully the media – these are all features of Clarence Valley local government in recent years.

This has to stop. It could stop - if Clarence Valley councillors ceased playing at schoolyard cliques and addressed the governance problems which have festered and spread in recent years.

No comments: