Frank Hirst [The Mirror, July 7] thinks that the Council he was on for all of two months in 2019 was functioning ‘quite well’. This contrasts with the view of the Independent
Monitor as well as the Investigation Team that dismissed Council in June 2019. As a Council watcher over 10 years, I know whose views I trust and believe!
Mr Hirst arrived in Council on countback, after repeated resignations resulted in a series of countbacks. Perhaps Mr Hirst had never taken much notice of Council matters – like many South Gippsland residents – and never thought seriously about the job of a Councillor before he himself landed for a time in that role.
Twelve months prior to the sacking of Council in June 2019, after the Chief Municipal Inspector had ‘noted’ concerns, an Independent Monitor was installed to monitor Council’s governance processes and practices. The Monitor’s report led to the appointment of a team of investigators, who ultimately recommended that Council be dismissed.
Council was dismissed after it had become clear to the Investigation Team that the last lot of ‘countback Councillors’, with minimal first preference votes, did not represent the electorate of South Gippsland.
As the ABC reported online on June 19, 2019, the ‘South Gippsland Shire Council has been sacked by the Victorian Government after six resignations, conflict and dysfunction plagued the council for more than a year’.
It seems to me that the last three years of the sacked Council were characterised by good people resigning their positions, which had become untenable. The positions left vacant were filled, at least in some instances, by placeholders on the how-to-vote tickets of two of the sacked Councillors.
At least two, possibly three, of the sacked Councillors are reputed to be running again. Even if it were half true, a ‘quite well’ functioning Council is not good enough. If we are to get a good Council, we need good candidates. And there are many of you in the community. Please put your hands up!
Bruce Beatson, Toora.