By Michael Giles
IT’S still two weeks before nominations open for the South Gippsland Shire Council elections and already the biggest-ever field of candidates is assembling.
A total of 25 candidates, across the three wards; Coastal Promontory, Tarwin Valley and Strzelecki, have so far thrown their hats into the ring and others are still thinking about standing.
Cr Kieran Kennedy is in the latter category, still thinking of standing, and will apparently make up his mind next week.
We would urge him to find something else to do.
He hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory in the past four years, notwithstanding the fact that he served a term as president in 2013
Cr Kennedy regularly runs up bills as the shire’s most expensive councillor; easily the most expensive of the ordinary councillors from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 at $50,025 as compared to his nearest rivals Crs Brunt and Hutchinson-Brooks on $38,000 each for the year.
Last financial year, he was the third most expensive of the ordinary councillors at $36,117 for the year to June 30, 2016, behind Crs McEwen ($39,516) and Hill ($38,917), who have since been accused of running up their car allowances for electioneering purposes.
At the February 26, 2014 council meeting he abused fellow councillor Lorraine Brunt, allegedly in the worst possible terms, again allegedly because Cr Brunt changed her mind about voting for him to take another term as president, a role that attracts remuneration of around $75,000pa.
Cr Kennedy issued an apology at the time “for my offensive behaviour towards Cr Brunt”, he was admonished by the council and took a voluntary leave of absence from council for four months… on full allowance.
Since returning, he is regularly absent from important briefing sessions.
And some months ago, Cr Brunt asked to be moved away from him at the council table, allegedly over his on-going attitude towards her.
The latest black mark on his present four-year term came last week when he was sanctioned by the council after an independent arbiter found that he had breached four principles of the new councillor code of conduct (Principles 6, 7, 9 and 11) which states councillors will “act honestly and avoid statements or actions that will or are likely to mislead or deceive a person”, “treat persons with respect”, “submit himself or herself to the lawful scrutiny that is appropriate” and “endeavour to ensure that public resources are used prudently and solely in the public interest”.
There was also an incident in his previous term of council where his travelling expenses/car use was questioned.
Cr Kennedy has been elected to four terms on council and ultimately it will be up to the voters if he does stand again but the truth of it is that he has long since ceased to be a suitable representative of the ratepayers.