Dear Beagle Editor, It is interesting to note that there are many concerns that our communities share and voice of our local councils. Your readers might be interested in our latest media release highlighting further parallels.
if the cap fits …
At its simplest, the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) believes that ‘corruption’ involves acting ‘dishonestly’ or behaving in an untrustworthy, deceitful or insincere way.
While some forms of corruption may entail breaches of the law, the behaviour that the BVSRRA is referring to is more often than not legal, even though it may be unethical, contrary to community expectations, professional standards or even government regulation.
The BVSRRA believes that such behaviour is a feature of the culture of Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) & that while some aspects of that behaviour may not raise eyebrows within the community, other aspects should.
For those who are shocked by the BVSRRA’s claim, it believes there are numerous examples of the behaviour which have acted to erode & weaken council’s culture & could lead to even greater abuses of public trust & a loss of confidence in the integrity of government & government officials if that behaviour is not corrected.
The BVSRRA believes that public & elected officials have a duty of care to the community they supposedly exist to serve. The BVSRRA also believes that council’s duty of care requires officials to always act honestly, ethically & with integrity, placing the best interests of the community ahead of all other interests at all times.
The BVSRRA does not believe that it is possible for any organisation to succeed where its culture does not embrace accountability for performance & where the availability of reward for genuine achievement is balanced by real consequences for non-performance.
And finally, the BVSRRA believes that such aspirations can only be realised where the community makes it clear that those standards are the minimum it expects its public officials to observe.
While councillors have recently acted to impose fiscal responsibility on council, while also ensuring that community services will not be impacted, they must not ignore or delay addressing the larger challenge of reforming council’s management culture, if they are to truly succeed.
Examples of what the association believes is corrupt behaviour are below and can also be found here
Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association examples of what the association believes is corrupt behaviour... The association believes that where a council bureaucrat removes conditions attached to a development consent by the elected council, without reference to the elected council, to the advantage of a developer & the potential disadvantage of other ratepayers, that behaviour is corrupt, even though it may be legal. The association believes that where a council official decides to make changes to council approved plans for the construction of a community asset, without reference to the elected council,then that behaviour is corrupt, even though it may be legal. The association believes that where council fails to comply with its own policies & procedures, it has a duty to acknowledge & correct such misbehaviour. Where council refuses to do that, the association believes that council is guilty of corrupt behaviour. The association believes that where council is made aware that it has made decisions that were based on false claims or information & those decisions had a major negative impact on a resident or ratepayer, & council refuses to correct the situation, then it is guilty of corrupt conduct. The association believes that where an official of council knowingly makes false claims about a matter, then that official is guilty of corrupt conduct. The association believes that where council claims to enjoy public support for a course of action based on a bogus opinion survey, then it is guilty of corruption. The association believes that where council claims that a public official has received an Honour where no such honour exists & then fails to publicly correct the record when the matter is brought to its attention, then it is guilty of corruption. The association believes that where council decides to expend a significant amount of ratepayers’ funds to purchase real estate without the benefit of a business case justifying the purchase, then it is guilty of corruption. The association believes that where council attempts to adopt a policy that confers a significant benefit on developers to the detriment of other residents & ratepayers, then it is guilty of corruption. The association believes that where requests for assistance from developers are taken by council behind ‘closed doors’ & residents & ratepayers are denied knowledge of the resultant decisions, then council is guilty of corruption. The association believes that where council as a trustee fails to act in the interest of the trust beneficiaries, then it has not only committed a breach of trust, but is guilty of corruption. The association believes that where council makes decisions which could have a major negative impact on the community, but it fails to quantify that impact & consult with the community before taking such decisions, then it is guilty of corruption. The association believes that where council confers a financial benefit on a community organisation using ratepayers’ funds, that will produce no tangible benefit for residents & ratepayers, then it is guilty of corruption. The association believes that where council holds itself out as being a champion of environmental protection, while ignoring or condoning instances of environmental abuse, then it is not only acting in a hypocritical fashion but it is also guilty of corruption