By Michael Giles

THE bookies are betting between $1.25 and $1.12 that Labor will win Saturday’s election, which is a shorter price than they quoted about Winx winning the 2018 Cox Plate.
The result in Bass is a little more interesting, they say, with the Liberals’ Brian Paynter shading Labor’s Jordan Crugnale as favourite at a return of $1.85 against $1.90 on your $1 outlay.
So, in all likelihood, when Labor wins on Saturday, they’ll still have the South Gippsland Shire Council in the frame for dismissal after they return to Parliament some time early in December.
But the hiatus of the election campaign, the start of a new Parliament, the arrival of two new councillors at South Gippsland and the election of a new mayor this Wednesday gives the local shire a window of opportunity to lift its game.
By all accounts, Cr Jeremy Rich has apparently submitted acceptable apologies to the aggrieved shire staff members by the required cut-off date and notwithstanding another ‘Confidential Personnel Matter’ that required the calling of a Special Meeting of Council, behind closed doors, last Wednesday, November 14, these issues appear to be settling down.
So, it is up to the new mayor and the new-look council to put its house in order, particularly in the areas of good governance, meeting behaviour, respect for each other, conflict of interest, legal expenses, councillor expenses and the other matters raised by the Local Government Minister when appointing her Municipal Monitor Mr Stephenson.
There is still the issue of Cr Rich’s family dispute with the shire over the use of water from the retarding basin at Walkerville to be sorted out, the unknown personnel matter and the Bald Hills Wind Farm complaints to be addressed.
But hopefully the council can minimise the time given to these matters and get on with the real business of representing the ratepayers.
A satisfactory turnaround in this regard would save us many thousands of dollars wasted on legal action and might see us avoid the appointment of administrators by the Minister, a move that could $2 million in ratepayers’ funds.
Will the council be able to take up the challenge – we’ll soon see when they have their first Ordinary Council Meeting on Wednesday, November 28, 2018.