The Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek has responded to the latest bombshells to hit the South Gippsland Shire Council, the resignation of Cr James Fawcett and the impending resignation of another councillor.
An official announcement about a fourth resignation is expected later this evening.
But he has stopped short of making an announcement about the immediate future of the council.
Instead he has informed the community that he has sought “urgent advice” from the Municipal Monitor about Council’s ability to continue functioning effectively
Here’s what the Minister had to day at 4.30pm today:
“Whilst the VEC will move to fill the vacancy at South Gippsland Shire, news of a fourth resignation of a councillor in the past six months is very concerning.
“I have asked for urgent advice from the Monitor if this has the potential to negatively impact the ability of Council to provide good governance and or deliver services to its community.”
Another factor that may affect any further response from the Minister is a decision taken by council in closed session yesterday, Wednesday, February 27, to consider ending the tenure of the present CEO Tim Tamlin.
Here’s what the council decided, reportedly on a 6-3 vote of councillors:
PERSONNEL MATTER – CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER EMPLOYMENT AND
REMUNERATION COMMITTEE REPORT. 6. MAKE PUBLIC IN THE ORDINARY MEETING OF COUNCIL MINUTES OF 27 FEBRUARY 2019 THAT THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER POSITION FOR SOUTH GIPPSLAND SHIRE COUNCIL WILL BE ADVERTISED FOR THE PERIOD COMMENCING 25 JUNE 2019, IN ACCORDANCE WITH S.94(3) OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1989, ONCE COUNCIL STAFF HAVE BEEN ADVISED.

The Minister for Local Government’s advisers also offered the following background:
It would be inappropriate for the Minister to comment on the reasons for the resignation of any individual councillor.
Under section 38(1B) of the Local Government Act 1989, the council CEO must notify the Minister and the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) that an extraordinary vacancy has occurred within 3 working days of becoming aware of the vacancy.
The VEC will set a date to conduct a countback (using votes cast at th

e council’s general election) to fill the extraordinary vacancy created by the resignation.
On the recommendation of the Chief Municipal Inspector, Peter Stephenson was appointed as municipal monitor to the council from 18 June 2018 until 18 June 2019.
Specifically, the monitor is assisting and advising the council about its meeting procedures, as well as policies and processes to manage conflicts of interest, confidential information and councillor conduct. The terms of reference for the monitor are publicly available at: https://www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/325026/Appt-of-Municipal-Monitor-Sth-Gippsland-SC-Terms-of-Reference.pd
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