As Moira Shire Council enters further turmoil over management of its finances, residents are holding an urgent meeting tonight to demand an independent probity audit.ROB HENSON June 18, 2014 3:36am
As Moira Shire Council enters further turmoil over management of its finances, residents are holding an urgent meeting tonight to demand an independent probity audit.
The agenda for the Nathalia meeting is to form a petition demanding council to institute an independent probity audit immediately.
It comes after the Local Government Inspectorate confirmed it would investigate a breach of confidentiality after an internal audit of contracts management was leaked to the media.
The leaked audit found council potentially faced 42 breaches of the Local Government Act by awarding contracts worth more than $150
Residents voiced concerns at a budget submission hearing on the 2014/15 proposed budget on Tuesday last week at Cobram Civic Centre.
‘‘I don’t consider that the budget is viable, because we haven’t had our independent probity audit, which was unanimously voted for by council,’’ resident John Lycett said.
‘‘I consider the politics of council to be basically corrupt or incompetent,’’ Mr Lycett said, to applause from the public gallery.
The independent probity audit, set to report on council’s ‘‘fiscal and operations’’ functions is still an active resolution. But the audit was put on ice as legal advice highlighted shortcomings in the council’s procurement process in selecting the probity auditor.
Council chief executive Mark Henderson said the recently leaked audit on contracting was itself ‘‘a form of probity audit’’.
‘‘If you asked for a probity audit one of the things that should be included (is) contracts.’’
He said he did not believe any contractor had been overpaid by council.
‘‘I think people have had contracts in place, and during the course of flood events, tornadoes and other natural disasters
Mr Henderson said the flood damage repair bill, paid through grants, was initially estimated to be $20 million, then ballooned out more than threefold.
‘‘So if you go in with a contractor and say ‘clear the roads, get things moving again’, and while he’s there you realise the job is much bigger than you ever imagined, you’re going to keep them working.’’
‘‘Technically, yep, we should have said, ‘the job is much bigger than we thought’ and it should have gone to tender. But when you’re doing emergency recovery, you don’t sit on your hands for six weeks to go through a tender process.’’
Some of the potential breaches identified in the leaked report were where repeated purchases had amounted to more than $150
‘‘If across the course of a year we would buy, for example, half a dozen cars from Toyota, the aggregate value of those cars will be more than $150
Mr Henderson apologised to tenderers who had been brought into the controversy through media reports on the leaked document.
He said some media reports had ‘‘misinterpreted’’ the document by implying a local contractor was overpaid $1.8
‘‘There’s no way he received $1.8
The community meeting is set for 6.30
After spending two games in the WAFL Michael Barlow has been recalled to play for Fremantle against St Kilda this weekend.
Three Yarrawonga footballers have excelled at interleague level, representing the Ovens and Murray against Hampden in Warrnambool on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
The Moama-Echuca Border Raiders took a big stride into the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League for 2016 with a solid, four-grade performance at Eaglehawk’s Truscott Reserve on Sunday.
THE town’s schools celebrated Education Week last week.
Kyabram Football Club will host a family day next weekend.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
HEATHCOTE Pre-school staff members were overwhelmed by the response to their annual Garden Express Spring Bulb fundraiser.
Youth services in Cobram have received a helping hand thanks to a new appointment made possible through a community store.
Plans for the release of a carp herpes virus has captured the attention of international press.
Farmers from northern Victoria will join a protest rally over milk prices in Melbourne tomorrow, Wednesday.
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