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
Higher numbers of Queensland fruit fly prompts call for people to clean up gardens.
The Yarrawonga Mulwala B Grade Rams have secured the Des Johnston Shield as WDCA B Grade Two Day Premiers for season 2014/2015 with a crushing win over City Colts.
Mystery and romance abound in a new novel from leading lady of Australian women’s fiction, Fleur McDonald.
For a long time, Ben O’Dea was not sure whether he lived at the Royal Children’s Hospital or in Moama.
Rochester Football Netball Club hosted an information evening last week in collaboration with Ambulance Victoria to educate members on the correct use of the club’s defibrillator.
20th Heritage Day a hit
Councillors last night put out for public comment a draft budget which proposed a lower-than-expected increase.
Finley have now formed their own Local Health Advisory Committee.
Heathcote Primary School put on a colourful display for Easter on Friday with an Easter hat parade featuring everything from the very edible to amazingly tall.
VicRoads will review speed limits on the Murray Valley Highway in Cobram and Strathmerton following petitions calling for them to be lowered.
Leading concert artist Daniel de Borah will perform in Deniliquin tonight as part of the South West Music 2015 concert series.
Toolamba Primary School student Felix Turnbull is looking forward to seeing his face on new SPC labels that will be on supermarket shelves across the nation.
Benalla GP Paul Kelly receives an award in recognition of his 37 years as a doctor in rural Victoria.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
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.