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
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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