Concerned residents' petition is received by Mayor but demands for probity audit remain up in the air.ROB HENSON July 9, 2014 3:36am
Delivery: Adrian Pawar and concerned residents and ratepayers marched around Cobram CBD, then handed over their petition calling for an independent probity audit to Moira Shire Council Mayor Peter Mansfield.
Angry ratepayers and Moira Shire councillors exchanged pleasantries and shook hands in Station St on Monday but their long-running dispute over a perceived lack of transparency in council activities seems far from over.
The group of residents vowed to step up protests if the call for a widespread audit is not taken seriously after handing their petition of 1097 signatures to Mayor Peter Mansfield.
About 20 protesters silently marched through the Cobram central business district and to the shire offices where they were welcomed by Crs Mansfield, Wendy Buck and Don McPhee.
The petition was quickly formed in the days before last month’s council meeting. Cr Mansfield at the meeting said council could not consider the document as it had not been formally presented.
Leading the march was former Moira Shire chief financial officer Adrian Pawar who said this was ‘‘semantics’’, with scores of protesters attending the meeting and discussing the petition.
‘‘No more games and no more semantics, we are serious about this,’’ Mr Pawar said.
‘‘If you don’t want to be open and transparent, then what have you got to hide?’’
The petition asks for an audit across all council activities, ‘‘fiscal and operational’’. The auditor would report directly to the mayor and councillors, with monthly updates made for residents.
Cr Mansfield thanked the petitioners and said council would consider the document ‘‘with due diligence’’.
‘‘We take into consideration your words on the petition,’’ he said.
‘‘And you can be assured all councillors are acting on your behalf and we’re doing what we think is right.’’
In February councillors unanimously voted for an independent probity audit but it was stalled because council had not called for tenders before awarding the contract.
At the June council meeting chief executive Mark Henderson said the resolution had not been enacted because there was an ongoing investigation by ‘‘a third party’’ and he was legally obliged not to act.
The petitioners also claimed council’s rate rise in its 2014-15 budget was unjustified in the face of alleged ‘‘wasteful expenditure’’, particularly in wages and external contracting. Rates rose 5.5 per cent, along with a 3.5 per cent rise in charges.
In April a leaked internal audit found a possible ‘‘42 significant breaches out of 65 samples audited’’ in council’s contract management processes, where aggregated payments over $150
The petition will be on the agenda at council’s next monthly meeting on July 21 at 6
They may be small and rare, but they attract hordes of loyal enthusiasts from American chat show hosts to Shepparton car buffs.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs John Geary will attend a memorial for the 3rd Cavalry Regiment (Vietnam) Association.
A former Rochester resident is helping women with their confidence and their horses.
Accusations of bullying, disrespect and dangerous conduct.
And the school's best all-rounder for this year.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
District residents are being invited to enjoy Oktooberfest celebrations at Tooborac Hotel and Brewery.
Momentum builds for the greatest show in Cobram, with young and old expected to lap up family attractions in sunny conditions.
Water users have welcomed the governments' announcement of a $350 million package for new irrigation efficiency programs in NSW, but say water availability is in need of improvement.
Farmers and anyone interested in big boys’ toys will be fascinated to check out an unmanned helicopter in action at an Ardmona orchard.
Judge comments, If I were single, I'd marry this steak!
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.