Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Ian Moon cleared of conflict of interest

An independent investigation has cleared Murray Shire councillor Ian Moon of having a pecuniary interest in a council debate last year.

TRENT HORNEMAN May 9, 2014 5:00am

An independent investigation has cleared Murray Shire councillor Ian Moon of having a pecuniary interest in a council debate last year.

Cr Moon was alleged to have breached pecuniary interest guidelines when taking part in a debate to allow 25 parking bays in West St, Moama.

Members of the public and some councillors believed this was a conflict of interest as Cr Moon lived in neighbouring Simms St.

While a motion to have bays marked in West St was originally passed in council, a rescission motion was later signed by Crs Tom Weyrich, John Pocklington and Bill Anderson, who agreed that not enough investigation had been done in determining if there was a need for the bays to be marked.

Murray Shire’s corporate services director Phil Higgins called for the investigation in January.

Investigators considered a range of documents from council staff, including former general manager Greg Murdoch and former engineering services director Colin Sandford, Riverine Herald reports, plans and reports to council and letters of support from Moama Public School and Moama police.

In July, consultant O’Connell Workplace Relations found Cr Moon to have a pecuniary interest and that the matter should be referred to the Division of Local Government.

But in October, the Division of Local Government found there was insufficient evidence and that Murray Shire could consider investigating whether Cr Moon had breached the code.

In November, Murray Shire hired JSBA to investigate the matter.

The firm initially found there could have been a breach of the model code of conduct, but found no evidence to suggest the parking bays in West St would ease parking or traffic problems and that it ‘‘was unlikely Cr Moon would personally benefit from the introduction of marked 90° parking bays in the centre of West St’’.

At Tuesday’s Murray Shire meeting in Moama, Cr Moon spoke about the finding.

‘‘A code of conduct was put on me three times. All have proven to be false,’’ he said.

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