Whittlesea council sacked
Legislation to sack the Whittlesea City Council has ben tabled in Victorian Parliament.
Three months after Whittlesea’s chief executive was removed and an independent monitor installed, serious governance failures revealed by municipal monitor Yehudi Blacher will now see the whole council sacked.
The audit found Whittlesea went through five chief executives in five years and spent $500,000 on legal disputes.
“The monitor has found that an intractable toxic culture has developed of infighting and division and internal bickering, which has led to the total collapse of governance at the Whittlesea City Council,” Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek said
“This council has spent $500,000 in legal fees as a result of their internal bickering rather than spending money on the upkeep of infrastructure.
“Rather than spending this money on delivering services for their communities they have spent this money on internal bickering.
“An example of that dysfunction is the fact that the council has had five different CEOs within five years — that's a huge, massive turnover of CEOs. I've never seen that before.”
Councillor Tom Joseph said he was pleased the council would be sacked.
He said the local government body was rife with internal fighting, accusing some fellow councillors of “pork-barreling”, and making decisions outside the interests of the community.
“We're seeing wrong decision after wrong decision, costing millions of dollars,” Cr Joseph told ABC Radio.
“The staff morale is completely down with this revolving door policy with CEOs.
“It is essentially a few councillors who are just about themselves.”
The government will appoint an interim administrator once councillors are removed from their positions.
“The monitor found councillors have stopped acting in the best interests of the City of Whittlesea and recommended its immediate dismissal and replacement with administrators. We accept the recommendations,” Mr Somyurek said.
“Victorians deserve and expect the highest standard of governance and integrity from their councils.
“Unfortunately the monitor has found that this particular council has fallen well short of those high standards.
“The monitor was due to hand down his report in June, but the monitor said; ‘I've seen enough now, mid-March and the longer this circus continues the more the people in the City of Whittlesea are missing out’.”