CEO has to go

Re the ABC's 7.30 Victoria program about Hanging Rock (October 11, 2013), and update (October 18, 2013): the Macedon Ranges Shire's CEO has been caught out making contradictory claims about Hanging Rock finances, firstly that the Rock was making a loss, then when council's own figures demonstrated it is in fact profitable, that the Rock apparently isn't making enough money.

These statements expose council's claimed Hanging Rock 'financial crisis' to be of recent invention to justify, without community consultation, the substantial, private development on Hanging Rock land promoted by council's administration.

The misinformation about Hanging Rock is not an isolated incident but typifies how council now operates - silent, arrogant, undemocratic, operating behind closed doors, and apparently assuming personal ownership of the shire and a power to act without transparency, explanation, veracity, consultation or justification of what it does, including expenditure of rates and funding. Sacking councillors won't resolve these issues. The Local Government Act places responsibility for ensuring council complies with the procedures and obligations it sets down on the CEO, and the buck stops with him. Macedon Ranges Council has in the past been brought under investigation for operating in back rooms and in an undemocratic way, not permitted by the LGA. Many in the community are saying council's culture under this CEO is unacceptable, and warrants the Minister for Local Government appointing a panel (like the 1999 Hunt inquiry) to investigate all of council and its administration. We request that she do so. The CEO's actions have now alienated council and its administration from the community, and the subsequent breach of trust that has engendered makes it untenable for him to continue. In these circumstances, the honourable thing would be for him to resign.

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