Moira Shire Councillors met with Executive Director of Local Government Nick Foa on Monday to discuss governance and behavioural issues.FIONA BLICK March 18, 2014 3:43pm
Mr Foa stayed for the day, talking with councillors behind the scenes; Mr Foa did not attend the ordinary meeting of council held later that evening.
The discussions with Mr Foa were announced when Moira Shire Mayor Peter Mansfield and acting CEO Peter Bertolus were summoned to a meeting with then Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell two weeks ago; the Minister spoke with the Yarrawonga Chronicle saying she was “concerned” over allegations of poor behaviour by councillors and council staff.
"The community expects high standards of governance and behaviour of both councillors and council staff,” Ms Powell said.
She said she had spoken with Cr Mansfield to express her “concern regarding the continued allegations that the council is not acting in a manner consistent with community expectations”.
Ms Powell instructed Mr Foa to step in and “provide advice” to councillors as a result of the meeting with Cr Mansfield and Mr Bertolus.
At Monday’s March meeting held in Wunghnu, Cr Mansfield spoke to his fellow councillors, Moira staff and the assembled gallery to confirm Mr Foa’s visit.
Cr Mansfield said they discussed “governance concerns raised by the previous Minister at her recent meeting” with himself and Mr Bertolus.
“The meeting (with Mr Foa) was very constructive and identified a number of ways council and councillors can improve the governance processes at the shire,” Cr Mansfield said.
“Our goal is to make Moira Shire the ideal place to live, work, visit and invest.
“Good governance is vital to investor and community confidence in our leadership.
“I am confident that after today’s discussions we are on the right track.”
Cr Mansfield added that no operational or financial management issues were raised, saying he thought it “important for the wider community to know that the Minister did not signal concerns with the operational or financial management of the council”.
“Late next month we will take our draft 2014/15 budget out for public consultation,” he said.
“This will clearly demonstrate the steps we have taken to improve our financial position and deliver value for money services to our ratepayers.
“Our appointment of a new CEO in coming weeks will mark a further step forward.
“It will end nearly six months of temporary arrangements and will provide some further certainty for everyone especially staff.”
Councillors seek increased ratepayer input on the budget this year
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