The community are becoming aware of the fact that the General Manager did not advise councillors of material correspondence from the Office Of Local Government that she received on July 13th 2020, two weeks before a critical council meeting that would see them vote on committing $19 million of ratepayers money to assist in building the Mackay Park Aquatic Centre. Below are the General Manager's responses to questions asked by The Beagle
The Office of Local Government, in their letter were very clear in their concerns reminding Council they MUST be satisfied of the community demand for the facility, as proposed, and the ability to subsidise the facility from the General Fund: DEMAND in this instance refers to anticipated revenues. The OLG comment and concerns of their July 13th letter were not conveyed by the General Manager to the councillors. Instead the Council report provided a single line (in red box below) from the letter that was taken out of context with a critical following paragraph that stated:
Trish Hellier, as the driver of the petition against the last SRV suggests "For those interested rate-payers and residents of this shire a letter should be sent to the Office of Local Government referring the Local Government ACT 1993 - Sect 335." and asks "The question in my mind is how much are the rate payers of this shire going to have to subsidise the Aquatic Center given that the OLG has stated that the Council can expect to run the center at a loss for the next 10 years as was advised in the letter to Dr Catherine Dale 13th July 2020 by the OLG and made clear in the Council's Otium Business case that they still, to this day, refer to?"
Is this a BREACH OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT BY GENERAL MANAGER? The section of the Act below sets out the functions of the General Manager. LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1993 - SECT 335 Functions of general manager 335 FUNCTIONS OF GENERAL MANAGER The general manager of a council has the following functions-- (a) to conduct the day-to-day management of the council in accordance with the strategic plans, programs, strategies and policies of the council, (b) to implement, without undue delay, lawful decisions of the council, (c) to advise the mayor and the governing body on the development and implementation of the strategic plans, programs, strategies and policies of the council, (d) to advise the mayor and the governing body on the appropriate form of community consultation on the strategic plans, programs, strategies and policies of the council and other matters related to the council, (e) to prepare, in consultation with the mayor and the governing body, the council's community strategic plan, community engagement strategy, resourcing strategy, delivery program, operational plan and annual report, (f) to ensure that the mayor and other councillors are given timely information and advice and the administrative and professional support necessary to effectively discharge their functions, (g) to exercise any of the functions of the council that are delegated by the council to the general manager, (h) to appoint staff in accordance with the organisation structure determined under this Chapter and the resources approved by the council, (I) to direct and dismiss staff, (j) to implement the council's workforce management strategy, (k) any other functions that are conferred or imposed on the general manager by or under this or any other Act. Councillors, and members of the Audit and RISK Committee might like to ask themselves: Did the General Manager ensure that the mayor and other councillors were given timely information and advice and the administrative and professional support necessary to effectively discharge their functions? Clr Nathan said during the July 28th debate, around the award of the tender and committing to the $19 million, “We as the elected body have been thoroughly briefed,” indicting that she knew everything to make an informed decision. Clr Pollock added during the debate “There is nothing more to be placed to the Audit and Risk Committee for them to make a more informed decision than they have already provided”. Yet the Audit and Risk Committee had not been provided the OLG letter either. During debate, and prior to the final vote, Mayor Innes said “Ultimately, what the community knows is what the community knows. What concerns me is what you, myself and my fellow councillors know. Because we are the ones who need to have all the information in front of us to make a decision on behalf of those who have democratically elected us to make decisions on their behalf. ” Whose decision was it to NOT provide the OLG letter, held by the General Manager since July 13th, to the Mayor and Councillors prior to their voting on expending $19 million on July 28th 2020? Should there be an investigation by the Office of Local Government to determine if there has been a breach of the rules? Here is the OLG letter to the General Manager in full.