THE Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek announced at 5pm today, Thursday, May 9 his intention to hold a Commission of Inquiry into the South Gippsland Shire Council under section 209 of the Local Government Act 1989.

The Commission will look at the stability of the Council, the behaviours of individual councillors, the process of hiring a CEO and the efficiency and effectiveness of governance arrangements in delivering services to the community.

“I am very concerned at what is going on at the South Gippsland Shire, the Commission – which has inquisitorial powers – will get to the bottom of it and I will table the findings in the Parliament,” Minister Somyurek said today.

“Like the ratepayers and residents of South Gippsland, I want a stable Council that functions effectively, governs well, delivers the services the community needs and represents the area.”

The Local Government Act 1989 provides the inquiry with broad ranging powers including summoning witnesses, requiring the production of documents and full access to the Council and its documents.

The Monitor’s final report recommended the Council be suspended and an administrator be appointed. On 2 April 2019, the Minister provided the Council with the Monitor’s report and it was asked to respond within 28 days, including what steps it had taken to address the issues in the monitor’s report.

Suspending the council is still under consideration and the Council’s response and the final report from the Municipal Monitor will be carefully considered by the Minister and the Commission of Inquiry.

But on ABC Radio this evening the Minister indicated that the latest fiasco over the appointment of a CEO or Acting CEO had raised the stakes still further with the Minister indicating that the shire council had now gone well beyond the realms of suspension, bringing the imminent sacking of the council into sharp focus.

Photo above: Was this the vote that doomed the council? The Mayor Cr Don Hill leading council into the rejection of existing CEO Tim Tamlin and the appointment of Bryan Sword for the longest-possible time for an Acting CEO of 12 months.