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When a missing AND does matter

OPEN LETTER TO GM AND COUNCILLORS

WHAT DID THEY ACTUALLY VOTE FOR?

After watching the webcast of the last council meeting 25 Feb, I am very confused about Item CCS20/007 re the BBRAALC.

Recommendation

“That council proceed to tender for the development of the BBRAALC based on the financial information outlined in the confidential attachment......”

1. Why not just, “That council proceed to tender for the development of the BBRAALC”?

As Clr Brown rather awkwardly said, “...... it’s not making any decisions in any way other than the process to allow us to go out to tender....”

2. If Clr Brown is correct, why add, “based on the financial information outlined in the confidential attachment...”?

3. The Executive Summary states,

“The quantum of funds .... needs to be identified for the tender to proceed ....”

However, I have searched the Tendering Guidelines, LGA and Regulation as well as council procurement policy/code and cannot find where it says that the funds need to be identified before going to tender.

Could you please advise me where I might find this legislative or policy requirement?

4. The Executive Summary also states:

“Council must not incur a liability for the expenditure of money unless there is an approval of that expenditure......(s211 Regulation)

However, this only quotes HALF the legislation.

s211 actually states:

“A council ....... must not incur a liability for the expenditure of money unless the council .....

a) has approved the expenditure, AND

b) has voted the money necessary to meet the expenditure.”

Please note the word 'AND' Council MUST not only "approve the expenditure" but ALSO "vote the money necessary to meet that expenditure." It would seem that by voting in the affirmative to this motion, councillors have actually voted to approve the money necessary to meet the expenditure, contrary to the advice given to them.

* Have councillors unknowingly voted to approve the money to meet this expenditure?

* Why was only a) quoted, as both a) AND b) are required to be complied with?

Clr McGinlay went to great lengths to have this recommendation/motion clarified before councillors voted. It would be a major administrative error to find this advice was incorrect, considering we are dealing with the spending of ratepayers money in the $ millions(I am quite sure the blow out in cost is over $1m).

5. Clr McGinlay also inquired as to why potential sources of additional funding were confidential and that the public should be given some kind of indication as to where it was coming from.

The GM responded:

a) the sources may change and we don’t want to confuse the community if this were to occur.

b) as the amount of money in these sources is publicly available “in terms of our potential reserves, one might form a very incorrect view about the amount of funds coming from those sources” which would be “misleading to the community and tenderers”. Tenderers might think that it was all available when it isn’t which “may impact the tender for us.”

A simple solution would be to provide the public with possible sources.

As for amounts available, I can’t imagine anyone thinking that council would totally drain allocated funding from particular accounts. That would be gross mismanagement.

* Will council provide the public with a list of possible sources?

* Better still, will council consult with the public about possible savings/omissions to make the project more affordable now and into the future?

After all, wouldn’t this “additional funding” be better spent where it is needed – rebuilding what has been destroyed or damaged in the fires?

Yours Sincerely

Patricia Gardiner

Deua River Valley


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