GLAMORGAN-Spring Bay Council has been savaged in a top level report.
As part of the Statement of Expectation project, two highly respected former local government identities have listed a litany of shortcomings and made urgent recommendations.
The report criticises both elected members and senior staff.
Former Meander Council General Manager Greg Peerce and former Flinders Island mayor Lynn Mason have been installed to oversee the operation of the GSBC and bring its processes up to date.
In some of their findings they outlined that the GSBC:
- Did not have a completed Strategic Plan;
- Did not have a Long Term Financial Plan;
- Did not have a current Asset Management Plan;
- Council was non-compliant with the Local Government Act;
- Council did not have a Risk Management system, plan or process in place which as a result left the Council and General Manager extremely vulnerable to litigation and damage claims; and
- No Key Performance Indicators had been established for the general manager, making it difficult to hold him accountable if the process and KPIs does not exist.
Mr Preece said without a Risk Management Plan in place, Council’s insurer would walk away from any claims and left Council with the expense and blame for incidents.
“While Council’s Audit Panel can manage some risk matters, it cannot be expected to audit a process if one doesn’t exist,’’ Mr Preece said.
“A Risk Management system should cover the day to day use and operations of Council’s facilities and properties and involves an inspection and risk assessment of key area of operations such as footpaths, trees, parks, playgrounds and marine facilities.
“Given the lack of understanding and current skills in the organisation, an experienced risk management resource is required.’’
Ms Mason found Council’s understanding of the Planning System and the Local Provision Schedule needed urgent attention.
“More time has to be dedicated to making sure that all elected members fully understand the processes involved and their responsibilities in acting as the Planning Authority,’’ Ms Mason said.
“Council needs greater knowledge of legislated meeting procedures, but in addition, councilors need greater understanding of their responsibilities in achieving good outcomes in council meetings and workshops.’’
Ms Mason recommended she attend a further meeting as an observer and then provide a debriefing to council.
“Council needs greater knowledge of legislated meeting procedures, but in addition, councillors need greater understanding of their responsibilities in achieving good outcomes in council meetings and workshops,’’ Ms Mason said
“All Councillors and senior staff need to realise that this Council is not operating optimally, and that improving it is a shared responsibility.
“That responsibility is not down to any one person.
“It is not shared equally, but it is shared.’’
At a meeting of the Statement of Expectations Committee on February 17, Mayo Debbie Wisby resigned as chairperson and Ms Mason was elected in her place.
Meanwhile, Ms Wisby has been accused by the Australian Services Union Tasmania of using Council information to gain a financial advantage.
In a complaint to the Director of Local Government, the ASU’s Tasmanian Coordinator Aaron De La Torre has asked that Ms Wisby be investigated for misuse of office and improper use of information.
In response, Ms Wisby said the Director of Local Government had not advised her of the alleged complaint, “I have no further comment to make’’.
Mr De La Torre alleges Ms Wisby used information unavailable to the public to gain a financial advantage by renting her bed and breakfast in Triabunna to accommodate successive Acting General Managers.
Merle’s Cottage at Triabunna was rented by Ms Wisby to Glamorgan Spring Bay Council for $300 per week.
“The private arrangement was not disclosed to other councillors for the first 5 weeks of the tenancy,’’ Mr De La Torre said.
“Mayor Wisby has gained a financial advantage of more than $3,000 by using information provided to her as Mayor.
“These are serious allegations of misuse of office by Mayor Wisby who benefited from information that was only available to her because she held a position on Council.’’