Moira Shire Council chief executive says he is bound by statutory obligations in not acting on a council resolution for an independent probity audit.ROB HENSON June 25, 2014 3:45am
Protest: Paula Walin-Bates, Adrian Pawar and Leanne Pell are among more than 1000 people supporting a petition demanding an independent probity audit of Moira Shire Council.
Angry residents have pledged to keep fighting for an independent probity audit into Moira Shire Council after a hotly debated budget meeting.
In about four days, 1095 people signed a petition which calls for an all-encompassing investigation into the integrity of council finances and processes.
The petition was brought to Monday night’s Moira Shire Council meeting in Numurkah, which was called to adopt the proposed 2014-15 budget.
Scores of concerned ratepayers and residents attended.
Moira chief executive Mark Henderson told the meeting the resolution passed at February’s council meeting, to complete an independent probity audit, was in conflict with his current statutory obligations relating to an investigation by ‘‘an independent third party’’ into council.
After months of bullying and mismanagement claims, the Local Government Inspectorate is currently investigating how a confidential internal audit report on Moira’s procurement and contracting was leaked to the media.
The leaked report detailed how a potential 42 breaches of finance regulations had aggregated from July 2011 to December 2013.
‘‘When a chief executive is faced with a resolution that is in conflict with a chief executive’s statutory obligation, the obligations under an Act of Parliament take precedence,’’ Mr Henderson said.
‘‘I had an obligation to properly inform the independent organisation, and while those investigations are in train I’m unable to enact the council resolution.
‘‘I don’t need a second team .
‘‘We do have a very confident current financial team in place. And we have a confident internal audit committee and a well structured audit program, and the auditor general preparing for our annual audit.’’
Leading critic of the budget Adrian Pawar claimed the chief executive’s statement to be under statutory obligations was wrong.
‘‘Where he says he’s got statutory obligations — nowhere in the (Local Government) Act does it say that,’’ Mr Pawar said.
He said the group would collect signatures until Monday, then physically hand the petition to the chief executive in Cobram.
‘‘Then he has to do the (independent probity) audit, because the community demands it.’’
Mr Pawar was Moira’s former chief financial officer and turned whistleblower last year, alleging bullying and financial mismanagement.
In public question time at Monday’s meeting, Nathalia’s Leanne Pell asked council: ‘‘Do you take seriously that residents and ratepayers are not happy — 1095 signatures in three to four days proves that, I think.’’
Mayor Peter Mansfield said he believed councillors and staff were ‘‘very concerned with the way we’re travelling’’.
‘‘And we will be taking the decisions for this council and community very seriously indeed, and we don’t take it lightly, especially when it means raising rates, which we think will bring the best outcome for the community,’’ Cr Mansfield said.
A new season of Shepparton District Tennis Association has dawned and with Old Students and Shepparton North joining the pennant competition the contests are sure to be intriguing.
With her effective left hand in particular, Chelsea Hanley retained the Victorian Under 17 junior welterweight title last Sunday with a convincing points decision victory.
It has been a successful year for Bega Cheese, which reflects on Tatura Milk Industries, with chair Barry Irvin announcing recently that Bega Cheese’s normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was $55.7 million and normalised profit after tax of $22 million.
AN ECHUCA drug addict and thief has been given her third chance at a community order despite breaching the last two.
TIMMERING Holstein breeders Scott and Nirrelle Somerville are thrilled with the announcement of their Holstein cow Somerelle Leader Lassco as the 2015 Australian Cow of the Year.
Great Race helps a great cause
Hundreds flock to Avenel to learn a thing or three.
Tocumwal Lions Club has plans to purchase the Bowling Club site for an aged care facility, which will only happen if the merger between the Tocumwal bowls and golf clubs proceeds.
A NASTY run-in with a kangaroo on the Northern Hwy between Melbourne and Echuca has convinced one regular traveller on the road the question of a cull needs to be addressed.
Three Cobram teens have been arrested by police after they allegedly stole tractors from Cobram and Tocumwal and caused about $30 000 in damage.
Deniliquin footballers Will Shaw and Cooper Wallace (pictured) have gone head-to-head with the state’s best at the recent AFL NSW/ACT Joss Under-14 State Zone Trials in Albury.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has acknowledged the completion of negotiations under the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), noting modest but important gains made for the Australian dairy industry in improving access to global markets.
Benalla banded together to raise $2000 for the Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century (A21).
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.