Council endorse recommendations

Posted Friday 18 August, 10:59am

Ararat Rural City Council Mayor, Cr Paul Hooper said work is underway to implement the six recommendations handed down by the Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins last week following the Commission of Inquiry’s Report.

At the Council Meeting on Tuesday night, Council discussed the report and resolved to accept and endorse all of the Minister's recommendations.

Retaining Council’s 2016 Rating Strategy, and reflecting this in the 2017/18 Budget was one of the six recommendations, which was also adopted by Council at the meeting.

“Further to the Rating Strategy recommendation, an advisory group will be established which will comprise of an independent non-voting Chair with knowledge of local government rating, and representatives of key groups of ratepayers with voting rights,” Cr Hooper said.

Current Ararat Rural City Council Interim Chief Executive Officer, Colleen White will remain in the position until an external interim CEO is appointed for a fixed 12-month term under the Minister’s recommendation.

This External CEO will undertake an organisational restructure of responsibilities and reporting lines, while also working with a Municipal Monitor for Council to achieve good governance practices.

Other recommendations are that Council undertake a review into the current range and level of service provision to the community to ensure it remains financially viable over the long term; a review of its Community Engagement Policy; investigate alternate reporting options for the Audit Committee; and address the Commission’s findings in relation to potential breaches of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct.

Council is currently finalising a formal response to the Minister within the required 28-day timeline on how each of the recommendations will be implemented.

“The Commission of Inquiry produced a thorough and detailed report which identified a number of critical areas that we as an organisation must make improvement on,” Cr Hooper said.

“We are committed to seeing this process through.”