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Probity audit delay

In a tense first council meeting for 2014 Moira Shire Councillors voted unanimously to call for tenders for an independent probity auditor.

FIONA BLICK February 18, 2014 3:48pm

This motion comes despite other media outlets reporting Albury-based Rob Salisbury & Associates had already been chosen to carry out the independent audit at a cost of $60,000.

Cr Kevin Bourke said at the meeting held in Cobram on Monday night this step was just a “technicality” which council must go through to satisfy local government authorities that due process had been followed.

Cr Ed Cox asked for written clarification by acting CEO Peter Bertolus to assure councillors the processes in appointing an independent auditor were correct however, Mayor Peter Mansfield told Cr Cox “in answer to your question, no”.

Cr Mansfield told council that “we are required by law to call for tenders after advertising for expressions of interest, which we did not do”.

“The Local Government Inspectorate has indicated how we can extract ourselves from this dilemma and that is where we stand at the moment,” Cr Mansfield said.

An original motion calling for council to approve “the process undertaken to appoint the Independent Probity Auditor to conduct an extensive review of both fiscal and operations aspects of Moira Shire Council” was withdrawn by Cr Bourke who instead moved a motion for the acting CEO to advertise for tenders.

Cr Bourke said he was “disappointed” the independent probity audit had been delayed for a “technicality” and added “it worries me that when the audit does happen, and believe me it will happen, what it will reveal”.

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