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Council Annual Report questions addressed

The Council's annual report will be presented for adoption at next Tuesday's (Nov 27th, 2018) Council meeting. Looking over the draft Annual report and the September review it appeared to reveal that an identical amount of $3460 is recorded in Clr L Brown’s expenses both for the 2017/18 FY and for the 2018/19 Sep Qtr., the former referred to as “professional development” and the latter “training/skill development”.

The Beagle sought an explanation from Council to advise more details around what this training development is asking "why it is only Lindsay Brown who qualifies/undertakes the training and will this training be on going?" A council spokesperson advised: "The costs are for a course Clr Brown completed with the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. Due to an annual limit of $3,500 for professional development, the amount has been split over two financial years resulting in two equal amounts in 2017-18 and 2018-19. The training involves the interpretation of financial statements, investment principles, risk, and general governance matters. Under the Local Government Act 1993, Section 232 (1) (g) all councillors are ‘to make all reasonable efforts to acquire and maintain skills necessary to perform the role of councillor’. All Eurobodalla councillors have the opportunity to avail themselves of such training and development, as the 2017-18 Annual Report indicates." The Beagle also asked via a media request: "Can Council advise if the Annual report will be delivered by November 30th and, if not, advise if they do have dispensation from the OLG for an extension and what reasons were given seeking that extension.? The Council spokesperson advised: Council has received an extension for the lodgement of its 2017-18 financial statements from the Office of Local Government due to the movement of a number of critical accounting staff and unanticipated issues with Council’s new software system. Council’s Annual Report will be presented to Council on Tuesday 27 November without these financial statements, in accordance with the extension. The financial statements will however will be referred to audit at that meeting. At next Tuesday's meeting it is hoped that the following question will be asked by one of the Councillors:

"Why has it taken 20 months to advise ratepayers of the General Manager's remuneration?" There has been considerable consternation around Council's defiant reluctance to reveal the General Managers remuneration following notice of her contract being extended. The initial anger around this reappointment was the fact that, by her own advice, the Council meeting Agenda item for her Salary review and possible reappointment was disguised from view and the subsequent minutes were found wanting of detail or completeness. This gained Council a letter of castigation from the Office of Local Government. Council has defiantly failed to carry out the very clear directive of the Division of Local Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet Guidelines For The Appointment & Oversight Of General Managers that states in part: It is important that any decision by the governing body of council to renew a contract for the general manager and the term of that contract be reported back to an open meeting of council, together with the total amount of any salary package agreed to. and ... Any discretionary increases should be modest and in line with community expectations. All discretionary increases in remuneration, together with the reasons for the increase, must be reported to an open meeting of council. It has taken twenty months to discover that the General Manager's remuneration jumped by a staggering 6.1% from $296,866 to $315,000 - remember All discretionary increases in remuneration, together with the reasons for the increase, must be reported to an open meeting of council. That has NOT been done. Maybe the Mayor might like to offer some clarity.. "In regards to this question... are you aware that .....?"

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