Michael Giles the editor of the SentinelTimes has surpassed himself in his recent editorial ‘Do we really want a Council?’

Michael is seriously out of touch probably because he is now focused primarily on Bass Coast Shire with little or no South Gippsland news.

He may believe that the administrators are better than an elected council, but the majority of the community does not believe this.
The administrators are on the nose in the coastal ward with their arbitrary cancelling of the Agnes Falls cantilever viewing platform project for spurious reasons and the closure of the Franklin River Reserve that was bring (ing) thousands of dollars into Toora and the shire. Meeniyan and the equestrian community were shocked by their perfunctory dismissal of the proposed events and equestrian centre after many years work and, again on a specious report from officers that was pointed out to the administrators on the day of the report, was factually incorrect. This was ignored by the administrators.

There are a few supporters of the Korumburra Hub on a grossly inadequate site on Little Commercial Street that is poorly accessible and allows for no expansion rather than on the railway land as the community desired.

The reason given was that VicTrack didn’t agree to a lease of land on the railway site. The administrators appointed by the former Minister Somyurek in the rush to be seen as doing something failed to press the case with the Minister or Premier of the importance of the railway site for the future of the town. They accepted a diminished and far less desirable site and are now locked in a legal planning appeal delaying it over inadequate parking and the negative impact on local business. The decision will fortunately be in the hands of the new elected councillors as it should be and as the Korumburra community wanted in the consultation.

Our administrators are costing us more than the previous councillors and are far less accessible and accountable and have failed to turn around council’s performance.

The editor argues that the administrators are doing a better job than councillors could. Overall council satisfaction is only at 42 per cent in 2020 and is 28 per cent below the state average and fails to even reach the old council 2018 score of 46 per cent.
The paper was part of the ferment to depose an elected council leading the attack by promulgating alleging serious bullying. What the paper fails to say in the two reports to the disgraced Minister there were absolutely no findings of bullying, or malfeasance or corruption or serious failure in governance.

Despite requests from the former Mayor Ray Argento and Mr Tamlin, the former CEO, I understand that there were no bully complaints lodged either confidentially or through other legal avenues. The major finding of the commission was the impact of the resignation of councillors who had lost control of council and didn’t want democracy to prevail.

Democracy matters. People and communities need elected members that they can hold accountable and stand for something. The ‘goats’ that the editor of the Bass Coast-focused Sentinel-Times criticises were the ones seeking a reduction in rates without a loss of services or the high level of asset renewal. Councillors have driven the low level of debt and it was the administrators who stopped the rate reduction included in the old council plan.

The editor is showing his age when calling someone a goat which once was a derogatory term. GOAT is now an abbreviation for ‘Greatest of All Time’, a slang popularly used to describe Mohammed Ali and is in hip hop music. The old councillors outperformed the administrators by a significant margin and were accessible. I can’t wait for democracy to be restored.

Matthew Sherry, Foster.