It is my view that the letter from former South Gippsland Shire Council Mayor, Kieran Kennedy (Ref. Sentinel Times newspaper, 24 August 2021) cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged.
As a respected former Shire Councillor, I am somewhat taken aback by the ignorance he has displayed. He himself was elected Mayor in 2012 on a single preference vote – so he fully understands the value of the preference voting system.
There is little doubt he would have witnessed some ‘abhorrent behaviour’ as he says, considering the company he was keeping (at least in his final term) – yet why rely on that experience as justification to double down on the lack of natural justice meted out to a number of the nine elected councillors who had nothing whatsoever to do with the allegations levied – now virtually all eliminated – that were tossed up to orchestrate the dismissal. Read the Local Government Act if you don’t think any of them had a right to be there!
And I do not recall seeing you in the public gallery at any council meeting in the four months prior to the dismissal. If you had of been there, you could have witnessed quite appropriate behaviour once the members of the no-longer-in-control faction members had resigned.
The factionalism was gone if you look at the voting patterns. Aaron Brown was the remaining remnant.
If you bother to check you will find he also was the beneficiary of the preference voting system. On first preferences, David Amor defeated him.
Your concluding statement: “We can only vote for nine new faces”, is not only untrue, but most probably designed to mislead. An apology is in order.
Furthermore, electing nine new faces is somewhat akin to feeding Christians to the Lions (the administration) and you must know that!
As for the letter from Carol Johnston (Ref. ST, 17 August 2021) to which you are replying, I can agree with much of what she said, however, she should study more closely what actually happened especially re the highly controversial strategy used to get ‘The Local Government (South Gippsland Shire Council) Bill 2019’ passed by both houses of Parliament in a single day.
Then read the two equally controversial letters penned by Mayor Lorraine Brunt, and sent, without advising her fellow Councillors, to now sacked, and in disgrace, former Local Government Minister, Marlene Kairouz.
So, please be careful when deciding to apportion blame for the unfortunate outcome. I say ‘unfortunate’, because anything we have learnt from the appointed interloper Administrators is not worth knowing. That comment is based on my extensive personal experience of interacting with them, quite closely, on quite a number of wide-ranging matters.
John McCombe, member, South Gippsland Action Group, Leongatha.