Melbourne City Councillor expenses December 2004 to March 31, 2006

Melbourne City Council Expenses – January 1 to March 31, 2006 Source Link

Cr John So Cr Garry Singer Cr Catherine Ng Cr David Wilson Cs Carl Jetter Cr Fraser Brindley Cr Brian Shanahan Cr Fiona Snedden Cr Peter Clark Total
1 Jan to 31 Mar 2006
1 Conferences, Functions $ $ $ $ $ 304,55 $ 823,45 $ 171,82 $ 201,57 $ $ 1 501,39
2 Training and Development $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 700,00 $ $ 700,00
3 Travel – Local $ $ 156,61 $ 294,80 $ 300,96 $ 2 811,69 $ 200,25 $ 418,74 $ 1 218,43 $ $ 5 401,48
4 Travel – Interstate $ 1 040,10 $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 243,64 $ $ 1 283,74
5 Travel – Overseas $ $ $ $ $ $ 1 068,14 $ $ $ 1 068,14
6 Communication – Local $ 637,68 $ 1 351,63 $ 660,74 $ 591,14 $ 596,21 $ 571,03 $ 461,82 $ 610,79 $ 1 275,34 $ 6 756,38
7 Communication – Interstate $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
8 Communication – Overseas $ 43,97 $ $ 369,80 $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 413,77
9 Functions External to Town Hall $ $ $ 359,47 $ $ 544,10 $ $ $ $ $ 903,57
10 Child Care $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 2 548,70 $ $ 2 548,70
Total Expenses $ 1 721,75 $ 1 508,24 $ 1 684,81 $ 892,10 $ 4 256,55 $ 2 662,87 $ 1 052,38 $ 5 523,13 $ 1 275,34 $ 20 577,17
Note: Published Data is dodgy indicating that the figuars may have been doctored. The published Total for the Lord Mayor does not add up to the detailed expenses.
Published data shows the Lord Mayor with a total of 1684.81 (under valued)
Missing costs associated with Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousine; Costs associated with Internal Catering and Free Booze.

Note: Councillors with the execption of Greens Councillor Frazer Brindley did not travel overseas durring this period. The Costs associated with the City of Mlebourne Commonwealth Games are also not included in these expense statements.

Melbourne City Council Expenses – December 2004 to March 31, 2006 (consolidated)
Also Missing costs associated with Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousine; Costs associated with Internal Catering and Free Booze.
Cr John So Cr Garry Singer Cr Catherine Ng Cr David Wilson Cs Carl Jetter Cr Fraser Brindley Cr Brian Shanahan Cr Fiona Snedden Cr Peter Clark Total
Total to Date Dec 2, 2004 to December 31, 2004
1 Conferences, Functions $ $ 2 872,65 $ 1 220,00 $ 887,96 $ 2 849,25 $ 823,45 $ 595,45 $ 1 400,65 $ 154,55 $ 10 803,96
2 Training and Development $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 700,00 $ $ 700,00
3 Travel – Local $ 20,00 $ 783,26 $ 1 747,26 $ 1 289,70 $ 8 298,70 $ 1 301,00 $ 1 517,57 $ 4 315,05 $ 56,09 $ 19 328,63
4 Travel – Interstate $ 2 114,34 $ 4 198,02 $ $ $ $ $ $ 621,72 $ $ 6 934,08
5 Travel – Overseas $ 21 689,49 $29 270,51 $ $ $ 7 347,59 $ 1 068,14 $ 7 112,60 $ 9 183,94 $ $ 75 672,27
6 Communication – Local $ 3 917,23 $ 6 126,20 $ 4 652,01 $ 2 152,00 $ 1 884,54 $ 1 995,91 $ 2 048,01 $ 2 904,66 $ 6 514,89 $ 32 195,45
7 Communication – Interstate $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
8 Communication – Overseas $ 2 049,78 $ 563,19 $ 928,33 $ $ 348,41 $ $ 439,12 $ 185,47 $ $ 4 514,30
9 Functions External to Town Hall $ $ 98,87 $ 1 059,95 $ $ 1 743,55 $ $ $ 243,68 $ $ 3 146,05
10 Child Care $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 9 384,10 $ $ 9 384,10
Total Expenses $ 29 790,84 $43 912,70 $ 9 607,55 $ 4 329,66 $22 472,04 $ 5 188,50 $11 712,75 $28 939,27 $ 6 725,53 $ 162 678,84

Melbourne City Councillor expenses December 2004 to March 31, 2006

Melbourne City Council Expenses – January 1 to March 31, 2006 Source Link

Cr John So Cr Garry Singer Cr Catherine Ng Cr David Wilson Cs Carl Jetter Cr Fraser Brindley Cr Brian Shanahan Cr Fiona Snedden Cr Peter Clark Total
1 Jan to 31 Mar 2006
1 Conferences, Functions $ $ $ $ $ 304,55 $ 823,45 $ 171,82 $ 201,57 $ $ 1 501,39
2 Training and Development $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 700,00 $ $ 700,00
3 Travel – Local $ $ 156,61 $ 294,80 $ 300,96 $ 2 811,69 $ 200,25 $ 418,74 $ 1 218,43 $ $ 5 401,48
4 Travel – Interstate $ 1 040,10 $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 243,64 $ $ 1 283,74
5 Travel – Overseas $ $ $ $ $ $ 1 068,14 $ $ $ 1 068,14
6 Communication – Local $ 637,68 $ 1 351,63 $ 660,74 $ 591,14 $ 596,21 $ 571,03 $ 461,82 $ 610,79 $ 1 275,34 $ 6 756,38
7 Communication – Interstate $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
8 Communication – Overseas $ 43,97 $ $ 369,80 $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 413,77
9 Functions External to Town Hall $ $ $ 359,47 $ $ 544,10 $ $ $ $ $ 903,57
10 Child Care $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 2 548,70 $ $ 2 548,70
Total Expenses $ 1 721,75 $ 1 508,24 $ 1 684,81 $ 892,10 $ 4 256,55 $ 2 662,87 $ 1 052,38 $ 5 523,13 $ 1 275,34 $ 20 577,17
Note: Published Data is dodgy indicating that the figuars may have been doctored. The published Total for the Lord Mayor does not add up to the detailed expenses.
Published data shows the Lord Mayor with a total of 1684.81 (under valued)
Missing costs associated with Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousine; Costs associated with Internal Catering and Free Booze.

Note: Councillors with the execption of Greens Councillor Frazer Brindley did not travel overseas durring this period. The Costs associated with the City of Mlebourne Commonwealth Games are also not included in these expense statements.

Melbourne City Council Expenses – December 2004 to March 31, 2006 (consolidated)
Also Missing costs associated with Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousine; Costs associated with Internal Catering and Free Booze.
Cr John So Cr Garry Singer Cr Catherine Ng Cr David Wilson Cs Carl Jetter Cr Fraser Brindley Cr Brian Shanahan Cr Fiona Snedden Cr Peter Clark Total
Total to Date Dec 2, 2004 to December 31, 2004
1 Conferences, Functions $ $ 2 872,65 $ 1 220,00 $ 887,96 $ 2 849,25 $ 823,45 $ 595,45 $ 1 400,65 $ 154,55 $ 10 803,96
2 Training and Development $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 700,00 $ $ 700,00
3 Travel – Local $ 20,00 $ 783,26 $ 1 747,26 $ 1 289,70 $ 8 298,70 $ 1 301,00 $ 1 517,57 $ 4 315,05 $ 56,09 $ 19 328,63
4 Travel – Interstate $ 2 114,34 $ 4 198,02 $ $ $ $ $ $ 621,72 $ $ 6 934,08
5 Travel – Overseas $ 21 689,49 $29 270,51 $ $ $ 7 347,59 $ 1 068,14 $ 7 112,60 $ 9 183,94 $ $ 75 672,27
6 Communication – Local $ 3 917,23 $ 6 126,20 $ 4 652,01 $ 2 152,00 $ 1 884,54 $ 1 995,91 $ 2 048,01 $ 2 904,66 $ 6 514,89 $ 32 195,45
7 Communication – Interstate $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
8 Communication – Overseas $ 2 049,78 $ 563,19 $ 928,33 $ $ 348,41 $ $ 439,12 $ 185,47 $ $ 4 514,30
9 Functions External to Town Hall $ $ 98,87 $ 1 059,95 $ $ 1 743,55 $ $ $ 243,68 $ $ 3 146,05
10 Child Care $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 9 384,10 $ $ 9 384,10
Total Expenses $ 29 790,84 $43 912,70 $ 9 607,55 $ 4 329,66 $22 472,04 $ 5 188,50 $11 712,75 $28 939,27 $ 6 725,53 $ 162 678,84

Melbourne City Councillor expenses December 2004 to March 31, 2006

Melbourne City Council Expenses – January 1 to March 31, 2006 Source Link

Cr John So Cr Garry Singer Cr Catherine Ng Cr David Wilson Cs Carl Jetter Cr Fraser Brindley Cr Brian Shanahan Cr Fiona Snedden Cr Peter Clark Total
1 Jan to 31 Mar 2006
1 Conferences, Functions $ $ $ $ $ 304,55 $ 823,45 $ 171,82 $ 201,57 $ $ 1 501,39
2 Training and Development $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 700,00 $ $ 700,00
3 Travel – Local $ $ 156,61 $ 294,80 $ 300,96 $ 2 811,69 $ 200,25 $ 418,74 $ 1 218,43 $ $ 5 401,48
4 Travel – Interstate $ 1 040,10 $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 243,64 $ $ 1 283,74
5 Travel – Overseas $ $ $ $ $ $ 1 068,14 $ $ $ 1 068,14
6 Communication – Local $ 637,68 $ 1 351,63 $ 660,74 $ 591,14 $ 596,21 $ 571,03 $ 461,82 $ 610,79 $ 1 275,34 $ 6 756,38
7 Communication – Interstate $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
8 Communication – Overseas $ 43,97 $ $ 369,80 $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 413,77
9 Functions External to Town Hall $ $ $ 359,47 $ $ 544,10 $ $ $ $ $ 903,57
10 Child Care $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 2 548,70 $ $ 2 548,70
Total Expenses $ 1 721,75 $ 1 508,24 $ 1 684,81 $ 892,10 $ 4 256,55 $ 2 662,87 $ 1 052,38 $ 5 523,13 $ 1 275,34 $ 20 577,17
Note: Published Data is dodgy indicating that the figuars may have been doctored. The published Total for the Lord Mayor does not add up to the detailed expenses.
Published data shows the Lord Mayor with a total of 1684.81 (under valued)
Missing costs associated with Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousine; Costs associated with Internal Catering and Free Booze.

Note: Councillors with the execption of Greens Councillor Frazer Brindley did not travel overseas durring this period. The Costs associated with the City of Mlebourne Commonwealth Games are also not included in these expense statements.

Melbourne City Council Expenses – December 2004 to March 31, 2006 (consolidated)
Also Missing costs associated with Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousine; Costs associated with Internal Catering and Free Booze.
Cr John So Cr Garry Singer Cr Catherine Ng Cr David Wilson Cs Carl Jetter Cr Fraser Brindley Cr Brian Shanahan Cr Fiona Snedden Cr Peter Clark Total
Total to Date Dec 2, 2004 to December 31, 2004
1 Conferences, Functions $ $ 2 872,65 $ 1 220,00 $ 887,96 $ 2 849,25 $ 823,45 $ 595,45 $ 1 400,65 $ 154,55 $ 10 803,96
2 Training and Development $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 700,00 $ $ 700,00
3 Travel – Local $ 20,00 $ 783,26 $ 1 747,26 $ 1 289,70 $ 8 298,70 $ 1 301,00 $ 1 517,57 $ 4 315,05 $ 56,09 $ 19 328,63
4 Travel – Interstate $ 2 114,34 $ 4 198,02 $ $ $ $ $ $ 621,72 $ $ 6 934,08
5 Travel – Overseas $ 21 689,49 $29 270,51 $ $ $ 7 347,59 $ 1 068,14 $ 7 112,60 $ 9 183,94 $ $ 75 672,27
6 Communication – Local $ 3 917,23 $ 6 126,20 $ 4 652,01 $ 2 152,00 $ 1 884,54 $ 1 995,91 $ 2 048,01 $ 2 904,66 $ 6 514,89 $ 32 195,45
7 Communication – Interstate $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
8 Communication – Overseas $ 2 049,78 $ 563,19 $ 928,33 $ $ 348,41 $ $ 439,12 $ 185,47 $ $ 4 514,30
9 Functions External to Town Hall $ $ 98,87 $ 1 059,95 $ $ 1 743,55 $ $ $ 243,68 $ $ 3 146,05
10 Child Care $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 9 384,10 $ $ 9 384,10
Total Expenses $ 29 790,84 $43 912,70 $ 9 607,55 $ 4 329,66 $22 472,04 $ 5 188,50 $11 712,75 $28 939,27 $ 6 725,53 $ 162 678,84

Playing Possum John So continues to waste city limited resources

More ratepayer money misspent.
The Herald Sun today published a report highlighting the hypocrisy and financial irresponsibility of the City of Melbourne in allocating council funds and limited public resources.

Whilst the City of Melbourne has a duty of care, Law and order is the overall responsibility of the State Government.

The $60,000 allocated for security by the City of Melbourne be would have been better spent providing housing or improved health services for Melbourne disadvantaged.

Some may try and shift the focus back on to the aboriginal protests but the fact remains that it is the City Council that is responsible for the financial management of City funds.

Perhaps it is time that John So give back the possum coat that he claims is his, even though it was given to him in his capacity of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor.




$60,000 fee for protest
Jen Kelly and Peter Mickelborough
28apr06

SECURITY costs for the Aboriginal protest camp have rocketed to $60,000 – and the bill continues to soar even though guards are barely seen.

Residents are furious Melbourne City Council continues to splurge wads of cash on guards while only a handful of protesters remain. And the derelict caravan that protesters are sleeping in copped another $50 parking fine yesterday.

The council said it paid $20,000-$30,000 a week for six guards 24 hours a day at the Kings Domain camp for the 13 days to Anzac Day. Since Wednesday, it has been cut back to three guards by day and four by night.

Yesterday afternoon only one guard remained in view of the campsite.

He was stationed about 150m from the protesters, with only a partial view of the camp, and said his colleagues were patrolling in a Ute.

Regular visitors say few guards have been seen at the site in recent days, and those who did appear kept their distance.

Council spokesman Cr David Wilson said one of the guards’ duties was to ensure camping gear was removed. It was present yesterday but out of sight for the distant guard.

Southbank Residents Group president Joe Bagnara said the cost of security was out of hand.

“Apart from curious onlookers there’s only a handful of people,” he said.

Mr Bagnara called on the council to take the security cost from its entertainment budget for staff and councillors.

ABORIGINAL park rangers and fisheries and wildlife officers will be given responsibility for reviewing indigenous cultural heritage implications of state planning and development.

The move follows the sacking of 48 volunteer indigenous inspectors — including the woman who issued an emergency declaration to protect the fire in Kings Domain.

The axing of the inspectors means they will not be able to act to extend the 30-day order protecting the Kings Domain fire when it expires on May 10

Playing Possum John So continues to waste city limited resources

More ratepayer money misspent.
The Herald Sun today published a report highlighting the hypocrisy and financial irresponsibility of the City of Melbourne in allocating council funds and limited public resources.

Whilst the City of Melbourne has a duty of care, Law and order is the overall responsibility of the State Government.

The $60,000 allocated for security by the City of Melbourne be would have been better spent providing housing or improved health services for Melbourne disadvantaged.

Some may try and shift the focus back on to the aboriginal protests but the fact remains that it is the City Council that is responsible for the financial management of City funds.

Perhaps it is time that John So give back the possum coat that he claims is his, even though it was given to him in his capacity of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor.




$60,000 fee for protest
Jen Kelly and Peter Mickelborough
28apr06

SECURITY costs for the Aboriginal protest camp have rocketed to $60,000 – and the bill continues to soar even though guards are barely seen.

Residents are furious Melbourne City Council continues to splurge wads of cash on guards while only a handful of protesters remain. And the derelict caravan that protesters are sleeping in copped another $50 parking fine yesterday.

The council said it paid $20,000-$30,000 a week for six guards 24 hours a day at the Kings Domain camp for the 13 days to Anzac Day. Since Wednesday, it has been cut back to three guards by day and four by night.

Yesterday afternoon only one guard remained in view of the campsite.

He was stationed about 150m from the protesters, with only a partial view of the camp, and said his colleagues were patrolling in a Ute.

Regular visitors say few guards have been seen at the site in recent days, and those who did appear kept their distance.

Council spokesman Cr David Wilson said one of the guards’ duties was to ensure camping gear was removed. It was present yesterday but out of sight for the distant guard.

Southbank Residents Group president Joe Bagnara said the cost of security was out of hand.

“Apart from curious onlookers there’s only a handful of people,” he said.

Mr Bagnara called on the council to take the security cost from its entertainment budget for staff and councillors.

ABORIGINAL park rangers and fisheries and wildlife officers will be given responsibility for reviewing indigenous cultural heritage implications of state planning and development.

The move follows the sacking of 48 volunteer indigenous inspectors — including the woman who issued an emergency declaration to protect the fire in Kings Domain.

The axing of the inspectors means they will not be able to act to extend the 30-day order protecting the Kings Domain fire when it expires on May 10

Playing Possum John So continues to waste city limited resources

More ratepayer money misspent.
The Herald Sun today published a report highlighting the hypocrisy and financial irresponsibility of the City of Melbourne in allocating council funds and limited public resources.

Whilst the City of Melbourne has a duty of care, Law and order is the overall responsibility of the State Government.

The $60,000 allocated for security by the City of Melbourne be would have been better spent providing housing or improved health services for Melbourne disadvantaged.

Some may try and shift the focus back on to the aboriginal protests but the fact remains that it is the City Council that is responsible for the financial management of City funds.

Perhaps it is time that John So give back the possum coat that he claims is his, even though it was given to him in his capacity of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor.




$60,000 fee for protest
Jen Kelly and Peter Mickelborough
28apr06

SECURITY costs for the Aboriginal protest camp have rocketed to $60,000 – and the bill continues to soar even though guards are barely seen.

Residents are furious Melbourne City Council continues to splurge wads of cash on guards while only a handful of protesters remain. And the derelict caravan that protesters are sleeping in copped another $50 parking fine yesterday.

The council said it paid $20,000-$30,000 a week for six guards 24 hours a day at the Kings Domain camp for the 13 days to Anzac Day. Since Wednesday, it has been cut back to three guards by day and four by night.

Yesterday afternoon only one guard remained in view of the campsite.

He was stationed about 150m from the protesters, with only a partial view of the camp, and said his colleagues were patrolling in a Ute.

Regular visitors say few guards have been seen at the site in recent days, and those who did appear kept their distance.

Council spokesman Cr David Wilson said one of the guards’ duties was to ensure camping gear was removed. It was present yesterday but out of sight for the distant guard.

Southbank Residents Group president Joe Bagnara said the cost of security was out of hand.

“Apart from curious onlookers there’s only a handful of people,” he said.

Mr Bagnara called on the council to take the security cost from its entertainment budget for staff and councillors.

ABORIGINAL park rangers and fisheries and wildlife officers will be given responsibility for reviewing indigenous cultural heritage implications of state planning and development.

The move follows the sacking of 48 volunteer indigenous inspectors — including the woman who issued an emergency declaration to protect the fire in Kings Domain.

The axing of the inspectors means they will not be able to act to extend the 30-day order protecting the Kings Domain fire when it expires on May 10

Chooks have raided the grain store again Melbourne City Council administration and Lord Mayor, John So, on credit spending frenzy

The Herald-Sun has published an expose by Jen Kelly on the front page of today’s newspaper. The report summarises Council expenditure on various junkets and other expenses all paid for by Council funded credit cards.

Whilst we have not yet made a comparison of the information published with other council expense statements – Which are due out at the end of this month. What is clear is that the use of Council funded credit cards are widely open to abuse.

In the previous 12 months the City of Melbourne has spent over $130,000 on credit with the Lord Mayor, john So and senior officers using Council funded credit cards as a means of ready available personal cash. Whilst some of this money is refunded to the Council the Council still has to foots the bill for interest payments.

Still missing from the Councils expense account is the detail expenditure of the Lord Mayor and deputy Lord Mayor’s Limousine costs. The costs of Internal Catering including free booze made available for senior staff and Councillors.

The City Council has yet to respond to our request for the publication of these expenses. Linda Weatherstone, City Council Governance Officers continues to go out of her way to avoid disclosure and open and transparent governance.

The City Council continue to mis-use and abuse its responsibility to readily provide public information on the expenses of the City Council. Previous information has shown the Council continue to doctor reports and alter information at will to avoid accountability. (Missing was over $10,000 of undisclosed expenses directly attributed to Council’s overseas and interstate travel.)

Whilst the Melbourne CEO continues to claim that all expenses are subject to an audit by Ernst and Young the fact remains that the system and published expenses are difficult if not outright impossible to effectively audit./ many recommendations by the auditors and others go undressed. The Council’s Travel register is effectively maintained on an electronic white board and is widely open to abuse.

Recommendations to include a secure sequential id number, cross checks and balances have been ignored by the City Council . The Council’s audit committee meets in secret (contrary to the provisions of the Local Government Act and regulations). Lets not forget last months revelations where the Council was found to have misappropriate millions of dollars in illegal fines.

Clearly there is a need to more open and transparent reporting of detailed auditors
reports

The Council has an obligation to the community and Melbourne ratepayers to account for this information. The refusal of the City Council to readily provide information outside the freedom of information act is an abuse of process and one that the elected City Council has failed to address.

If we do not hear from the Council by the end of this month the City of Melbourne can expect a complaint to the State Ombudsman and Attorney Generals department.

Crazy credit spree
Jen Kelly, city editor
26apr06

EXTRAVAGANT credit-card spending by Melbourne City Council chiefs has left ratepayers with bills for tenpin bowling, fancy dress costumes and exotic junkets.

Lord Mayor John So, his executives and staff splurged $130,000 with credit cards in a year, including on movie tickets, bike hire and trips to Healesville Sanctuary.
Lavish five-star hotel accommodation in London, New York, San Francisco, Boston and China added tens of thousands of dollars.

A Herald Sun investigation of council credit cards found a bill for $1200 to Richmond’s Exotic Car Rentals for two open-top BMWs in the F1 Grand Prix parade.

Ratepayers paid for fashion festival tickets for staff and an $85 Bicycle Victoria membership for a council officer.

Cr So and staff reimbursed ratepayers for items including groceries and gifts after wrongly using cards.

Statements obtained under Freedom of Information laws show ratepayers paid $802 for staff to go to Kingpin Bowling Lounge for a “team building event”.

The Crown casino venue boasts a bar, DJ music, disco lighting, pool tables and waiter service.

Acting sustainable policy manager Andrew McCulloch paid $188 to hire a tandem bike and a three-seater bike to promote Ride to Work Day.

Another $180 was spent on Melbourne Football Club memorabilia for Chinese leaders after they were made honorary members.

Meeting rooms were hired at top hotels including the Westin and Stamford Plaza, despite free rooms at Melbourne Town Hall. Last year deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer demanded one meeting room be converted into an office for him.

The total bill for the council’s 58 credit cards was $132,056.64 for the 12 months to November 2005.

Anthony van der Craats, who runs a website that seeks to hold the council to account, said Town Hall spending on bureaucratic expenses was out of control.

“The time has come to provide good governance and to put an end to the misuse and abuse of council funds,” he said.

Southbank Residents Group president Joe Bagnara said $130,000 was exorbitant.

“It seems they have no conscience when it comes to spending ratepayers’ money on spurious things,” he said.

“If I were the CEO I wouldn’t allow people to go out tenpin bowling. If they want to do that, they can do it in their own time and pay for it.”

CEO David Pitchford’s eight interstate and overseas trips last year included a $13,700 stay in Britain, separate documents show.

He used his credit card to buy a $57 book from London’s Freud Museum, formerly the home of Sigmund Freud.

A trip to China in September, including a three-night $1300 stay at the five-star Grand Hotel Beijing, a former palace overlooking the Forbidden City, cost another $12,400.

Ratepayers also spent $760 to send council staff to a lecture on English, especially punctuation and grammar, in 2004.

Staff paid $231 last year to hire a rooster costume from Madgear in Balwyn to promote Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rooster.

A manager paid almost $100 for Village movie tickets as excellence awards for staff. And $319 of Hoyts tickets were given as prizes to schoolchildren in a road safety competition.

Ratepayers spent almost $400,000 in 12 months, partly on credit cards, on trips.

In 2004, a staff member bought $290 in gifts for the Lord Mayor of St Louis in Mauritius at the Kirra Gallery.

Staff spent $352 on admission fees to Healesville Sanctuary for VIPs from overseas on two days in late 2004.

Executives passed on even small expenses.

Business Melbourne manager Peter Chaffey swiped his card for a $7 parking fee.

Sustainable policy manager Mark Woodland reimbursed the council after he wrongly used a credit card last year to pay for $51 of groceries at Apollo Bay IGA and $79 for personal items in Port Campbell.

Cr So reimbursed $9.43 three months after charging a refreshment to his credit card at the Hong Kong Hotel. Other councillors do not have credit cards.

Mr Pitchford said auditors Ernst and Young found the use of the cards was best-practice.

“Use of purchase cards at the City of Melbourne is subject to rigorous control,” he said.

“All overseas travel by staff is approved by the chief executive . . . Travel is only to be undertaken where it delivers direct benefit to the city.”

Chooks have raided the grain store again Melbourne City Council administration and Lord Mayor, John So, on credit spending frenzy

The Herald-Sun has published an expose by Jen Kelly on the front page of today’s newspaper. The report summarises Council expenditure on various junkets and other expenses all paid for by Council funded credit cards.

Whilst we have not yet made a comparison of the information published with other council expense statements – Which are due out at the end of this month. What is clear is that the use of Council funded credit cards are widely open to abuse.

In the previous 12 months the City of Melbourne has spent over $130,000 on credit with the Lord Mayor, john So and senior officers using Council funded credit cards as a means of ready available personal cash. Whilst some of this money is refunded to the Council the Council still has to foots the bill for interest payments.

Still missing from the Councils expense account is the detail expenditure of the Lord Mayor and deputy Lord Mayor’s Limousine costs. The costs of Internal Catering including free booze made available for senior staff and Councillors.

The City Council has yet to respond to our request for the publication of these expenses. Linda Weatherstone, City Council Governance Officers continues to go out of her way to avoid disclosure and open and transparent governance.

The City Council continue to mis-use and abuse its responsibility to readily provide public information on the expenses of the City Council. Previous information has shown the Council continue to doctor reports and alter information at will to avoid accountability. (Missing was over $10,000 of undisclosed expenses directly attributed to Council’s overseas and interstate travel.)

Whilst the Melbourne CEO continues to claim that all expenses are subject to an audit by Ernst and Young the fact remains that the system and published expenses are difficult if not outright impossible to effectively audit./ many recommendations by the auditors and others go undressed. The Council’s Travel register is effectively maintained on an electronic white board and is widely open to abuse.

Recommendations to include a secure sequential id number, cross checks and balances have been ignored by the City Council . The Council’s audit committee meets in secret (contrary to the provisions of the Local Government Act and regulations). Lets not forget last months revelations where the Council was found to have misappropriate millions of dollars in illegal fines.

Clearly there is a need to more open and transparent reporting of detailed auditors
reports

The Council has an obligation to the community and Melbourne ratepayers to account for this information. The refusal of the City Council to readily provide information outside the freedom of information act is an abuse of process and one that the elected City Council has failed to address.

If we do not hear from the Council by the end of this month the City of Melbourne can expect a complaint to the State Ombudsman and Attorney Generals department.

Crazy credit spree
Jen Kelly, city editor
26apr06

EXTRAVAGANT credit-card spending by Melbourne City Council chiefs has left ratepayers with bills for tenpin bowling, fancy dress costumes and exotic junkets.

Lord Mayor John So, his executives and staff splurged $130,000 with credit cards in a year, including on movie tickets, bike hire and trips to Healesville Sanctuary.
Lavish five-star hotel accommodation in London, New York, San Francisco, Boston and China added tens of thousands of dollars.

A Herald Sun investigation of council credit cards found a bill for $1200 to Richmond’s Exotic Car Rentals for two open-top BMWs in the F1 Grand Prix parade.

Ratepayers paid for fashion festival tickets for staff and an $85 Bicycle Victoria membership for a council officer.

Cr So and staff reimbursed ratepayers for items including groceries and gifts after wrongly using cards.

Statements obtained under Freedom of Information laws show ratepayers paid $802 for staff to go to Kingpin Bowling Lounge for a “team building event”.

The Crown casino venue boasts a bar, DJ music, disco lighting, pool tables and waiter service.

Acting sustainable policy manager Andrew McCulloch paid $188 to hire a tandem bike and a three-seater bike to promote Ride to Work Day.

Another $180 was spent on Melbourne Football Club memorabilia for Chinese leaders after they were made honorary members.

Meeting rooms were hired at top hotels including the Westin and Stamford Plaza, despite free rooms at Melbourne Town Hall. Last year deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer demanded one meeting room be converted into an office for him.

The total bill for the council’s 58 credit cards was $132,056.64 for the 12 months to November 2005.

Anthony van der Craats, who runs a website that seeks to hold the council to account, said Town Hall spending on bureaucratic expenses was out of control.

“The time has come to provide good governance and to put an end to the misuse and abuse of council funds,” he said.

Southbank Residents Group president Joe Bagnara said $130,000 was exorbitant.

“It seems they have no conscience when it comes to spending ratepayers’ money on spurious things,” he said.

“If I were the CEO I wouldn’t allow people to go out tenpin bowling. If they want to do that, they can do it in their own time and pay for it.”

CEO David Pitchford’s eight interstate and overseas trips last year included a $13,700 stay in Britain, separate documents show.

He used his credit card to buy a $57 book from London’s Freud Museum, formerly the home of Sigmund Freud.

A trip to China in September, including a three-night $1300 stay at the five-star Grand Hotel Beijing, a former palace overlooking the Forbidden City, cost another $12,400.

Ratepayers also spent $760 to send council staff to a lecture on English, especially punctuation and grammar, in 2004.

Staff paid $231 last year to hire a rooster costume from Madgear in Balwyn to promote Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rooster.

A manager paid almost $100 for Village movie tickets as excellence awards for staff. And $319 of Hoyts tickets were given as prizes to schoolchildren in a road safety competition.

Ratepayers spent almost $400,000 in 12 months, partly on credit cards, on trips.

In 2004, a staff member bought $290 in gifts for the Lord Mayor of St Louis in Mauritius at the Kirra Gallery.

Staff spent $352 on admission fees to Healesville Sanctuary for VIPs from overseas on two days in late 2004.

Executives passed on even small expenses.

Business Melbourne manager Peter Chaffey swiped his card for a $7 parking fee.

Sustainable policy manager Mark Woodland reimbursed the council after he wrongly used a credit card last year to pay for $51 of groceries at Apollo Bay IGA and $79 for personal items in Port Campbell.

Cr So reimbursed $9.43 three months after charging a refreshment to his credit card at the Hong Kong Hotel. Other councillors do not have credit cards.

Mr Pitchford said auditors Ernst and Young found the use of the cards was best-practice.

“Use of purchase cards at the City of Melbourne is subject to rigorous control,” he said.

“All overseas travel by staff is approved by the chief executive . . . Travel is only to be undertaken where it delivers direct benefit to the city.”

Chooks have raided the grain store again Melbourne City Council administration and Lord Mayor, John So, on credit spending frenzy

The Herald-Sun has published an expose by Jen Kelly on the front page of today’s newspaper. The report summarises Council expenditure on various junkets and other expenses all paid for by Council funded credit cards.

Whilst we have not yet made a comparison of the information published with other council expense statements – Which are due out at the end of this month. What is clear is that the use of Council funded credit cards are widely open to abuse.

In the previous 12 months the City of Melbourne has spent over $130,000 on credit with the Lord Mayor, john So and senior officers using Council funded credit cards as a means of ready available personal cash. Whilst some of this money is refunded to the Council the Council still has to foots the bill for interest payments.

Still missing from the Councils expense account is the detail expenditure of the Lord Mayor and deputy Lord Mayor’s Limousine costs. The costs of Internal Catering including free booze made available for senior staff and Councillors.

The City Council has yet to respond to our request for the publication of these expenses. Linda Weatherstone, City Council Governance Officers continues to go out of her way to avoid disclosure and open and transparent governance.

The City Council continue to mis-use and abuse its responsibility to readily provide public information on the expenses of the City Council. Previous information has shown the Council continue to doctor reports and alter information at will to avoid accountability. (Missing was over $10,000 of undisclosed expenses directly attributed to Council’s overseas and interstate travel.)

Whilst the Melbourne CEO continues to claim that all expenses are subject to an audit by Ernst and Young the fact remains that the system and published expenses are difficult if not outright impossible to effectively audit./ many recommendations by the auditors and others go undressed. The Council’s Travel register is effectively maintained on an electronic white board and is widely open to abuse.

Recommendations to include a secure sequential id number, cross checks and balances have been ignored by the City Council . The Council’s audit committee meets in secret (contrary to the provisions of the Local Government Act and regulations). Lets not forget last months revelations where the Council was found to have misappropriate millions of dollars in illegal fines.

Clearly there is a need to more open and transparent reporting of detailed auditors
reports

The Council has an obligation to the community and Melbourne ratepayers to account for this information. The refusal of the City Council to readily provide information outside the freedom of information act is an abuse of process and one that the elected City Council has failed to address.

If we do not hear from the Council by the end of this month the City of Melbourne can expect a complaint to the State Ombudsman and Attorney Generals department.

Crazy credit spree
Jen Kelly, city editor
26apr06

EXTRAVAGANT credit-card spending by Melbourne City Council chiefs has left ratepayers with bills for tenpin bowling, fancy dress costumes and exotic junkets.

Lord Mayor John So, his executives and staff splurged $130,000 with credit cards in a year, including on movie tickets, bike hire and trips to Healesville Sanctuary.
Lavish five-star hotel accommodation in London, New York, San Francisco, Boston and China added tens of thousands of dollars.

A Herald Sun investigation of council credit cards found a bill for $1200 to Richmond’s Exotic Car Rentals for two open-top BMWs in the F1 Grand Prix parade.

Ratepayers paid for fashion festival tickets for staff and an $85 Bicycle Victoria membership for a council officer.

Cr So and staff reimbursed ratepayers for items including groceries and gifts after wrongly using cards.

Statements obtained under Freedom of Information laws show ratepayers paid $802 for staff to go to Kingpin Bowling Lounge for a “team building event”.

The Crown casino venue boasts a bar, DJ music, disco lighting, pool tables and waiter service.

Acting sustainable policy manager Andrew McCulloch paid $188 to hire a tandem bike and a three-seater bike to promote Ride to Work Day.

Another $180 was spent on Melbourne Football Club memorabilia for Chinese leaders after they were made honorary members.

Meeting rooms were hired at top hotels including the Westin and Stamford Plaza, despite free rooms at Melbourne Town Hall. Last year deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer demanded one meeting room be converted into an office for him.

The total bill for the council’s 58 credit cards was $132,056.64 for the 12 months to November 2005.

Anthony van der Craats, who runs a website that seeks to hold the council to account, said Town Hall spending on bureaucratic expenses was out of control.

“The time has come to provide good governance and to put an end to the misuse and abuse of council funds,” he said.

Southbank Residents Group president Joe Bagnara said $130,000 was exorbitant.

“It seems they have no conscience when it comes to spending ratepayers’ money on spurious things,” he said.

“If I were the CEO I wouldn’t allow people to go out tenpin bowling. If they want to do that, they can do it in their own time and pay for it.”

CEO David Pitchford’s eight interstate and overseas trips last year included a $13,700 stay in Britain, separate documents show.

He used his credit card to buy a $57 book from London’s Freud Museum, formerly the home of Sigmund Freud.

A trip to China in September, including a three-night $1300 stay at the five-star Grand Hotel Beijing, a former palace overlooking the Forbidden City, cost another $12,400.

Ratepayers also spent $760 to send council staff to a lecture on English, especially punctuation and grammar, in 2004.

Staff paid $231 last year to hire a rooster costume from Madgear in Balwyn to promote Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rooster.

A manager paid almost $100 for Village movie tickets as excellence awards for staff. And $319 of Hoyts tickets were given as prizes to schoolchildren in a road safety competition.

Ratepayers spent almost $400,000 in 12 months, partly on credit cards, on trips.

In 2004, a staff member bought $290 in gifts for the Lord Mayor of St Louis in Mauritius at the Kirra Gallery.

Staff spent $352 on admission fees to Healesville Sanctuary for VIPs from overseas on two days in late 2004.

Executives passed on even small expenses.

Business Melbourne manager Peter Chaffey swiped his card for a $7 parking fee.

Sustainable policy manager Mark Woodland reimbursed the council after he wrongly used a credit card last year to pay for $51 of groceries at Apollo Bay IGA and $79 for personal items in Port Campbell.

Cr So reimbursed $9.43 three months after charging a refreshment to his credit card at the Hong Kong Hotel. Other councillors do not have credit cards.

Mr Pitchford said auditors Ernst and Young found the use of the cards was best-practice.

“Use of purchase cards at the City of Melbourne is subject to rigorous control,” he said.

“All overseas travel by staff is approved by the chief executive . . . Travel is only to be undertaken where it delivers direct benefit to the city.”

So corruption exposed Melbourne City Council must come clean and those responsible held accountable

The Herald Sun Editorial dated April 5, 2006 ( Extract blow) is damming and raises more issues that must be addressed.

Why did the Council fail to cooperate with the State Ombudsman Department? What’s more important is that when this issue was identified nothing was done to address the concerns raised. instead the Council became involved in a cover-up and engaged in a conspiracy of deceit.

If Alison Lyon, Melbourne City Council’s former Legal Officer, had not already resigned then we would be calling for her to be sacked. Ms Lyons resigned earlier this year prior to the release of the Obmbudsman report. Other heads must roll, those responsible for this disgrace conduct and blatant misuse and abuse of authority must be held accountable.

When did Melbourne’s Lord Mayor and other Councillor’s first become aware of the problems and why was there nothing said or done until this issue was exposed by the State Ombudsman department?

Who else was involved in the conspiracy of silence?

These are serious issues pertaining to the administration and cultural environment within the City Council, Council officers believe they are unaccountable and have on many occasions demonstrated there persistence to avoid accountability by consistently refusing to publish information and details of the Council’s administration. They are even prepared to misuse council funds to avoid responsibility and accountability. Much more needs to be said about the goings on in the City Council.

The Herald Sun was critical of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor and Councillors and rightly so. They have been implicated in the fall-out. Too busy jet-setting off, drinking and partying to fulfill their responsibility.

What role did Garry Singer, Melbourne’s Deputy Lord Mayor and John So’s right hand man, play in this cover-up. he was responsible for Council’s finances and the Council’s representative on the City’s internal audit committee.? Surely he was aware of what was going on if not then why not?

John So must demonstrate that he has the ability to not just win smiles and popularity contests he must prove that he is capable of providing good governance.

A full and detailed review needs to be undertaken of the Council’s governance department to try and weed out the corrupt practices and wrong doings. The City Council MUST come clean and provide a fully transparent and accountable administration before the stench becomes to much to bare.

This issue is far from over and more answers must be forthcoming.

The Town Hall bounty hunters
05apr06

MOTORISTS have always suspected it. Now they know.

Melbourne City Council is using parking fines, not to bring traffic order, but as an outrageous revenue raiser.
Anyone who doubted the existence of this Town Hall rort now has the word of the State Ombudsman. who in a report reveals that the city’s 120 parking officers are being deployed as bounty hunters.

The quarry are the unlucky motorists who annually have $27 million dollars ripped from their wallets.

The report says there was evidence of Melbourne City Council managers bullying and harassing parking officers into meeting a quota of 30 fines a day. If they don’t measure up, they risk the sack.

The Ombudsman’s report says that even after legal advice that tickets in Docklands were unenforceable, the council continued to issue them. The report says the council has no policy of making refunds for incorrect or invalid tickets.

Most serious is the allegation that senior council managers sought to obstruct the Ombudsman’s inquiry and that investigators found evidence council staff altered records to cover up the Docklands blunder.

Let’s hear what you plan to do, Lord Mayor John So.