There’s plenty of evidence of the creeping culture of reduced transparency and accountability from the leaders at Bass Coast Shire Council over recent years.

For example, the CEO [allegedly] defied the clear expectations of councillors when she unilaterally introduced the Unreasonable Customer Conduct policy.

And last month the mayor took the unprecedented action of prohibiting a public question from being presented to the public council meeting, without any explanation to that meeting.

Is this the new normal I wonder?

Now this month there is more evidence of the poor leadership culture at council.

In an astonishing overreach, and without proper substantiation, senior council officers claimed that a proposed motion might cost $600,000 per year. When a councillor queried how this figure had been reached, the CEO claimed that this could not be divulged because it was commercial-in-confidence.

So, we are to believe that senior officers can freely make a company’s ‘guesstimate’ public, but not how that guesstimate was derived!

What, we’ll just pick a big figure, put it out there, and claim commercial-in-confidence as cover?

How preposterous is that?

Without proper substantiation, that figure should be dismissed as nothing more than wildly exaggerated and designed to sway debate…

…Given that ratepayers are paying the CEO around $330,000 per annum, and with several lieutenants on salaries circa $250,000, I am left with no doubt that ratepayers are not receiving best value for money from the current leadership group.

For far too long the tail has been wagging the dog at Bass Coast Shire Council.

It seems to me that some councillors are unwilling to hold the bureaucrats to account, whilst others are incapable of holding them to account.

I live in hope that somewhere down the track the community might get councillors who understand their role in governing the CEO, and thereby the bureaucrats, and who will restore proper governance and transparency at BCSC.

Kevin Griffin, Wonthaggi.