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
The redevelopment of Shepparton Library, which will feature accessible shelving, a teen-specific area, a Skype booth and internet-enabled work stations, will be completed in the next two months.
The Ovens & Murray qualifying final between Yarrawonga and Lavington on Saturday left spectators talking more about the standard of umpiring than the two competing teams.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
The Kiss Angels, 50 Shades of Hope team have come up with a creative way of fundraising for the Relay for Life, a purple potty.
District hotels and businesses may change rosters with penalty rates for casual employees on Sundays set to be cut.
Students visit local businesses for reading lessons
Bottle thrown at Jason Cole in bitter aftermath to Seymour-Benalla game on Saturday.
A truck driver is lucky to be alive after crashing into a Jerilderie home yesterday morning.
Chef and co-owner of Heathcote’s Willow Room Brent Loam is thrilled with the listing in the 2015 Age Good Food Guide
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
Murray Irrigation to search for new boss after Anthony Couroupis finishes with the company.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
A sophisticated hydroponic cannabis system was discovered by police at the Victoria Hotel last week.
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