Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Council says no to probity audit

In a tense debate lasting more than half an hour Moira Shire Council voted against holding an independent probity audit.

FIONA BLICK August 19, 2014 4:00pm

Three recommendations were discussed at Monday night’s ordinary meeting in Katunga and witnessed by a packed gallery holding placards calling for an independent probity audit, the original plus two amended motions.

In the end it came down to a tied vote of four votes for and against (Cr Brian Keenan was an apology) with Mayor Peter Mansfield forced to give a casting vote.

The original recommendation called for council to thank independent probity petition organisers for their ongoing interest in council activities and for council to continue monitoring existing internal and external audit processes.

Cr Wendy Buck opened the debate by calling for an amendment to this recommendation adding a third point, to “request the VAGO (Victorian Auditor General’s Office) appointed auditors Crowe and Howarth to present to council a full report on the state of our financial position and recommendations for moving forward”.

Cr Don McPhee seconded this amended motion.

Cr Kevin Bourke spoke against the amended motion and moved a second amended motion, which stated the CEO “be granted authority to call for tenders from those who expressed interest in the independent probity audit on both the fiscal and operations aspects of Moira Shire Council”.

Cr Marie Martin seconded this motion, which was the same resolution passed by unanimous vote at the February ordinary general meeting.

Cr Bourke’s amended motion was denied with only Cr Bourke and Cr Martin voting for the motion.

Cr Ed Cox then entered the debate and called for the original recommendation to stand as is; Cr Alex Monk seconded this motion.

The original motion was also denied three votes to five.

Finally, voting for Cr Buck’s amended ‘VAGO auditors’ motion took place, which became a tied vote, four councillors for and four councillors against.

Cr Mansfield gave his casting vote for the recommendation and declared the amended recommendation “now carried”.

Cr Mansfield thanked his fellow councillors for conducting themselves with “dignity” during this “difficult debate”.

For a full report including councillor comments and gallery reactions see next week’s Yarrawonga Chronicle.

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