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on the nose …

      The Beagle Editor, Your many southern readers who follow the news of Bega Council might find the following Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) media release of interest

            on the nose …

On October 30th, 2019, in one of its more notorious meetings, Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) resolved that council management could effectively ignore requests from the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) for information relating to council’s financial affairs.

Eight months later, BVSC has treated all residents & ratepayers with absolute contempt by effectively ignoring all requests for information from the association, including requests for financial information pertaining to the draft Long Term Financial Plan & Operational Plan & Budget 2020-2021, recently on Public Exhibition.

Coincidental to the above, the BVSRRA commenced a dialogue with council’s former Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Lucas Scarpin, in an effort to improve its own understanding of council’s finances. It was through this dialogue that concerns were aroused around the status of council’s cash reserves.

Mr Scarpin suggested that he could raise these concerns directly with council in the first instance & the BVSRRA agreed. Subsequently Crs Nadin & Bain called for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of council to consider their call for council to initiate an independent audit of council’s financial standing, in particular due to potential ramifications for council’s financial plans currently on exhibition.

The BVSRRA understands that after last week’s EGM was scheduled, Mr Scarpin sought permission to address council but that permission was refused. The BVSRRA further understands that Mr Scarpin offered to provide council with a video presentation detailing the basis of his concerns & that this was agreed to by council.

Further, the BVSRRA understands that Mr Scarpin was invited to attend a meeting with a number of councillors the day before the EGM to detail the basis of his concerns (Crs Tapscott, McBain & Fitzpatrick).

When the EGM meeting commenced, the Mayor informed the meeting that Mr Scarpin had submitted a report to council regarding his concerns over the management of council’s cash reserves. Further, the Mayor confirmed that a meeting had been held with Mr Scarpin the previous day. The Mayor concluded by saying that:

“At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr Scarpin indicated that he was confident that council was aware of the issues & challenges before it & had commenced implementing actions to address these issues.”

Mr Scarpin has advised the BVSRRA that he disagrees with the Mayor’s statement, confirming that he had detailed the basis of his concerns to the councillors with whom he had met & that he had been led to believe that a solution to the problem that he believes is confronting council was to be presented to the EGM the following day.

At that point, Crs Allen & Bain confirmed that they were unaware of Mr Scarpin’s submission. The Mayor then suggested that councillors view the video presentation provided by Mr Scarpin (Mr Scarpin's video presentation can be viewed here, as the quality of the video published by council on its website as part of its EGM is almost inaudible).

The meeting subsequently degenerated into yet another caterwauling farce, with comments from a number of councillors directly touching on the recent Eden-Monaro by-election. Mayor Tapscott distinguished herself yet again in not acting on genuine & obvious points of order. John Richardson


Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association

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