Of deep concern to members of South Gippsland Action Group is the poor governance and rampant secrecy of the South Gippsland Shire Council.
We hear the same sentiments in the community time and time again.
Refusals to account for millions of dollars in wastage, increased banding levels and more fat cats, community trust at an all-time low and one of the highest council rates in Victoria are a bleak reality for ratepayers.
I think that the pathetic refusal to answer our questions by referring them to the Audit Committee highlights the amateurish behaviour of this council.
This Audit Committee meets only four days per year and their charter is far removed from dealing directly with ratepayers’ concerns.
The endless spin, waffle and pictures in the press replacing governance make us question whether fiduciary duties are even considered and are anywhere near statutory requirements.
This council appointed a committee to best determine how to shuffle our sky-high rates burden around.
This committee must make recommendations how Peter can best rob Paul, because it is not allowed to touch the total amount of imposed rates.
What poor leadership and what poor governance!
I regard the top secret CEO Key Performance Indicators deliberations a farce.
This employee is serving his last stretch of a 10-year occupancy.
Responsible for the lowest satisfaction rating on record, exorbitant high rates, millions of dollars wasted, rampant secrecy, increased red tape and a rapidly increasing and top heavy bureaucracy, this should never have been a burden for ratepayers to suffer.
I calculate this position is costing us ratepayers more than half a million dollars every year and we are not allowed to know key performance outcomes because that is none of our business. How absolutely ridiculous and, indeed, heinous!
Records for the year ended June 30, 2017 show that Cash Reserves are $10 million and Term Deposits are $16 million for a total of $26 million.
That is an increase of $8 million in one year. Our rates at work all right! Our concern is that this money will be wasted on grandiose schemes, ever increasing bureaucracy and other indulgences we don’t want or need.
Councillors, we ask you, again, stop the waste, reduce the huge bureaucracy, stop the practice of unaccountability and entrenched culture of secrecy and show more respect for the community.
And stop navel gazing. We deserve much better governance and better operational and financial management in this shire.
We want lower rates. We do not want this CEO, not now and certainly not in the future.
We want a professional executive employee who understands ratepayers, who understands the community, and above all who understands modern management.
I believe that ever increasing rates, rampant secrecy and an ever ballooning bureaucracy are well past their use-by date, are totally out of line with community expectations and in desperate need of a fresh, professional approach. Is that too much to ask?
Gus Blaauw, treasurer, South Gippsland Action Group, Venus Bay.