Grand Prix promotion So spends ratepayers money in race for reelection next year

John So came under fire for what is seen as misuse of council funds to help promote John So in the lead to next years Lord Mayor Race.

Two weeks ago John So unilaterally authorised the expenditure of $100,000 of un-budgeted funding. It was only after complaints from fellow councillors that john So was forced to hold a special council meeting to seek approval of the extraordinary payment.

Cr Clarke has come out criticizing the deal struck between the Lord Mayor and the Grand Prix corporation as a means of John So securing a prominent role in this years Grand prix event in return for the City Council agreeing to foot the $100,000 bill for the extravaganza promo.

Jon So reputation as “the man that can not say No” continues unabated.

Council funds used to promote So, say critics
Clay Lucas, The Age
February 27, 2007

LORD Mayor John So used council money to buy a prominent media role in this week’s Grand Prix warm-up in Carlton, according to his Town Hall critics.

A draft contract between Melbourne City Council and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, obtained yesterday by The Age, shows a condition of the council’s $100,000 sponsorship of Saturday’s Ferrari Festival was that the Lord Mayor be guaranteed a prominent role.

“Is sponsorship of an event like this meant to be about promoting the City of Melbourne or the Lord Mayor?” said Cr Fraser Brindley.

“The State Government sponsors plenty of events, but does Steve Bracks get a guarantee to speak?” he said.

On Saturday, 60 vintage Ferraris and a Formula One car will drive down Lygon Street, to promote the Grand Prix on March 18.

Leaked internal emails show that council officers demanded in December that Cr So be given a role in Saturday’s event if it were to go ahead.

The council also requested that, as part of the sponsorship deal, the Lord Mayor and his chief executive, David Pitchford, get tickets to the Grand Prix’s $2970-a-head Paddock Club — touted on the event’s website as “the ultimate in corporate hospitality”.

The deal was drafted in January — a month before councillors other than Cr So or his deputy, Gary Singer, were told about the event. The contract also guarantees Cr Singer “an official role at the launch”.

Cr Peter Clarke said the sponsorship was proof council funds were being used to promote John So. “This smacks of buying media opportunities,” Cr Clarke said.

Cr So and his embattled chief executive, whose contract is up for negotiation, earlier this month decreed that Melbourne City Council sponsor the event — despite internal advice that the council could not afford it.

No other councillors were told about the deal until February 6, despite Cr So and his chief executive having agreed to it in December.

The Lord Mayor last night said he had not “bought” media opportunities, arguing that officers must have negotiated media opportunities for him without consulting him.

“I am passionate about promoting Melbourne — I have no other motives,” Cr So said.

The internal council emails also reveal that it was negotiating with VicRoads over a 100 km/h drive-through for the Formula One car in the event.

Grand Prix chief executive Tim Bamford and Cr Singer have repeatedly denied their organisations had discussed a speed limit of 100 km/h for the Formula One car.

Grand Prix promotion So spends ratepayers money in race for reelection next year

John So came under fire for what is seen as misuse of council funds to help promote John So in the lead to next years Lord Mayor Race.

Two weeks ago John So unilaterally authorised the expenditure of $100,000 of un-budgeted funding. It was only after complaints from fellow councillors that john So was forced to hold a special council meeting to seek approval of the extraordinary payment.

Cr Clarke has come out criticizing the deal struck between the Lord Mayor and the Grand Prix corporation as a means of John So securing a prominent role in this years Grand prix event in return for the City Council agreeing to foot the $100,000 bill for the extravaganza promo.

Jon So reputation as “the man that can not say No” continues unabated.

Council funds used to promote So, say critics
Clay Lucas, The Age
February 27, 2007

LORD Mayor John So used council money to buy a prominent media role in this week’s Grand Prix warm-up in Carlton, according to his Town Hall critics.

A draft contract between Melbourne City Council and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, obtained yesterday by The Age, shows a condition of the council’s $100,000 sponsorship of Saturday’s Ferrari Festival was that the Lord Mayor be guaranteed a prominent role.

“Is sponsorship of an event like this meant to be about promoting the City of Melbourne or the Lord Mayor?” said Cr Fraser Brindley.

“The State Government sponsors plenty of events, but does Steve Bracks get a guarantee to speak?” he said.

On Saturday, 60 vintage Ferraris and a Formula One car will drive down Lygon Street, to promote the Grand Prix on March 18.

Leaked internal emails show that council officers demanded in December that Cr So be given a role in Saturday’s event if it were to go ahead.

The council also requested that, as part of the sponsorship deal, the Lord Mayor and his chief executive, David Pitchford, get tickets to the Grand Prix’s $2970-a-head Paddock Club — touted on the event’s website as “the ultimate in corporate hospitality”.

The deal was drafted in January — a month before councillors other than Cr So or his deputy, Gary Singer, were told about the event. The contract also guarantees Cr Singer “an official role at the launch”.

Cr Peter Clarke said the sponsorship was proof council funds were being used to promote John So. “This smacks of buying media opportunities,” Cr Clarke said.

Cr So and his embattled chief executive, whose contract is up for negotiation, earlier this month decreed that Melbourne City Council sponsor the event — despite internal advice that the council could not afford it.

No other councillors were told about the deal until February 6, despite Cr So and his chief executive having agreed to it in December.

The Lord Mayor last night said he had not “bought” media opportunities, arguing that officers must have negotiated media opportunities for him without consulting him.

“I am passionate about promoting Melbourne — I have no other motives,” Cr So said.

The internal council emails also reveal that it was negotiating with VicRoads over a 100 km/h drive-through for the Formula One car in the event.

Grand Prix chief executive Tim Bamford and Cr Singer have repeatedly denied their organisations had discussed a speed limit of 100 km/h for the Formula One car.

Pitchford pitches for renewal of his contract Council to decide tonight CEO’s future

Melbourne City Council’s beleaguered lack-luster CEO , David Pitchford, will tonight put0foward his application to have his contract renewed. Under the p[revisions of the local Government Act the Council must decide whether to renew Pitchford’s contract or call for fresh applications. if the later option is chosen Pitchford would have to put his name forward to consideration with any other applicants.

The City Council is said to not be overall impressed with David Pitchford’s performance.

To make matters worst for Melbourne’s incumbent CEO Scott Chapman, is an insider that is busy campaigning away to have a chance at ousting the CEO and taking his job. Melbourne CEO receives a $300,000 remuneration package plus additional benefits.

There has been rumors floating around the town hall for some time now that David Pitchford has been casting his net to see if there are any other opening around.

Mean while the numbers are being converted in what could be an upset to John So.

It could be that the City Council resolves to renew Pitchford’s contract one year to allow it more time to finalize arrangements. A similar arrangement was made with Micheal Malouf to allow Malouf to be seen to have exited on his own terms. Mr Malouf eventually found a position with the Carlton Football Club but as it turns out his tenure there is not looking good and there is talk that he too will be looking at an early retirement.

All will become clearer hopefully later tonight.

Pitchford pitches for renewal of his contract Council to decide tonight CEO’s future

Melbourne City Council’s beleaguered lack-luster CEO , David Pitchford, will tonight put0foward his application to have his contract renewed. Under the p[revisions of the local Government Act the Council must decide whether to renew Pitchford’s contract or call for fresh applications. if the later option is chosen Pitchford would have to put his name forward to consideration with any other applicants.

The City Council is said to not be overall impressed with David Pitchford’s performance.

To make matters worst for Melbourne’s incumbent CEO Scott Chapman, is an insider that is busy campaigning away to have a chance at ousting the CEO and taking his job. Melbourne CEO receives a $300,000 remuneration package plus additional benefits.

There has been rumors floating around the town hall for some time now that David Pitchford has been casting his net to see if there are any other opening around.

Mean while the numbers are being converted in what could be an upset to John So.

It could be that the City Council resolves to renew Pitchford’s contract one year to allow it more time to finalize arrangements. A similar arrangement was made with Micheal Malouf to allow Malouf to be seen to have exited on his own terms. Mr Malouf eventually found a position with the Carlton Football Club but as it turns out his tenure there is not looking good and there is talk that he too will be looking at an early retirement.

All will become clearer hopefully later tonight.

Grand Prix promotion So spends ratepayers money in race for reelection next year

John So came under fire for what is seen as misuse of council funds to help promote John So in the lead to next years Lord Mayor Race.

Two weeks ago John So unilaterally authorised the expenditure of $100,000 of un-budgeted funding. It was only after complaints from fellow councillors that john So was forced to hold a special council meeting to seek approval of the extraordinary payment.

Cr Clarke has come out criticizing the deal struck between the Lord Mayor and the Grand Prix corporation as a means of John So securing a prominent role in this years Grand prix event in return for the City Council agreeing to foot the $100,000 bill for the extravaganza promo.

Jon So reputation as “the man that can not say No” continues unabated.

Council funds used to promote So, say critics
Clay Lucas, The Age
February 27, 2007

LORD Mayor John So used council money to buy a prominent media role in this week’s Grand Prix warm-up in Carlton, according to his Town Hall critics.

A draft contract between Melbourne City Council and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, obtained yesterday by The Age, shows a condition of the council’s $100,000 sponsorship of Saturday’s Ferrari Festival was that the Lord Mayor be guaranteed a prominent role.

“Is sponsorship of an event like this meant to be about promoting the City of Melbourne or the Lord Mayor?” said Cr Fraser Brindley.

“The State Government sponsors plenty of events, but does Steve Bracks get a guarantee to speak?” he said.

On Saturday, 60 vintage Ferraris and a Formula One car will drive down Lygon Street, to promote the Grand Prix on March 18.

Leaked internal emails show that council officers demanded in December that Cr So be given a role in Saturday’s event if it were to go ahead.

The council also requested that, as part of the sponsorship deal, the Lord Mayor and his chief executive, David Pitchford, get tickets to the Grand Prix’s $2970-a-head Paddock Club — touted on the event’s website as “the ultimate in corporate hospitality”.

The deal was drafted in January — a month before councillors other than Cr So or his deputy, Gary Singer, were told about the event. The contract also guarantees Cr Singer “an official role at the launch”.

Cr Peter Clarke said the sponsorship was proof council funds were being used to promote John So. “This smacks of buying media opportunities,” Cr Clarke said.

Cr So and his embattled chief executive, whose contract is up for negotiation, earlier this month decreed that Melbourne City Council sponsor the event — despite internal advice that the council could not afford it.

No other councillors were told about the deal until February 6, despite Cr So and his chief executive having agreed to it in December.

The Lord Mayor last night said he had not “bought” media opportunities, arguing that officers must have negotiated media opportunities for him without consulting him.

“I am passionate about promoting Melbourne — I have no other motives,” Cr So said.

The internal council emails also reveal that it was negotiating with VicRoads over a 100 km/h drive-through for the Formula One car in the event.

Grand Prix chief executive Tim Bamford and Cr Singer have repeatedly denied their organisations had discussed a speed limit of 100 km/h for the Formula One car.

Pitchford pitches for renewal of his contract Council to decide tonight CEO’s future

Melbourne City Council’s beleaguered lack-luster CEO , David Pitchford, will tonight put0foward his application to have his contract renewed. Under the p[revisions of the local Government Act the Council must decide whether to renew Pitchford’s contract or call for fresh applications. if the later option is chosen Pitchford would have to put his name forward to consideration with any other applicants.

The City Council is said to not be overall impressed with David Pitchford’s performance.

To make matters worst for Melbourne’s incumbent CEO Scott Chapman, is an insider that is busy campaigning away to have a chance at ousting the CEO and taking his job. Melbourne CEO receives a $300,000 remuneration package plus additional benefits.

There has been rumors floating around the town hall for some time now that David Pitchford has been casting his net to see if there are any other opening around.

Mean while the numbers are being converted in what could be an upset to John So.

It could be that the City Council resolves to renew Pitchford’s contract one year to allow it more time to finalize arrangements. A similar arrangement was made with Micheal Malouf to allow Malouf to be seen to have exited on his own terms. Mr Malouf eventually found a position with the Carlton Football Club but as it turns out his tenure there is not looking good and there is talk that he too will be looking at an early retirement.

All will become clearer hopefully later tonight.

Mike Hill Exposed Local Government guru stands to make millions

Mike Hill of LGVA fame and Beau of former City of Melbourne – one term councillor, Lorna Pit, stands to make Millions of dollars in a highly questionable land deal/housing development.

A must read

Following on from the Sunday Herald Sun article by Chris Tinkler

Andrew Landeryou, The Other Cheek has published an excellent expose of Mike Hill.

Our dealings with Mike Hill also have demonstrated that he is a man of questionable ethics and lacking talent. Looks like Mike Hill is cashing in on his many years as defacto President of the Republic of Morland as his retirement nears.

Mike Hill Exposed Local Government guru stands to make millions

Mike Hill of LGVA fame and Beau of former City of Melbourne – one term councillor, Lorna Pit, stands to make Millions of dollars in a highly questionable land deal/housing development.

A must read

Following on from the Sunday Herald Sun article by Chris Tinkler

Andrew Landeryou, The Other Cheek has published an excellent expose of Mike Hill.

Our dealings with Mike Hill also have demonstrated that he is a man of questionable ethics and lacking talent. Looks like Mike Hill is cashing in on his many years as defacto President of the Republic of Morland as his retirement nears.

Mike Hill Exposed Local Government guru stands to make millions

Mike Hill of LGVA fame and Beau of former City of Melbourne – one term councillor, Lorna Pit, stands to make Millions of dollars in a highly questionable land deal/housing development.

A must read

Following on from the Sunday Herald Sun article by Chris Tinkler

Andrew Landeryou, The Other Cheek has published an excellent expose of Mike Hill.

Our dealings with Mike Hill also have demonstrated that he is a man of questionable ethics and lacking talent. Looks like Mike Hill is cashing in on his many years as defacto President of the Republic of Morland as his retirement nears.

John So $100,000.00 bankrupt fast ride Ron Walker extracts ratepayers’ money from Lord Mayor without authority

Extraordinary revelations John So has on his own volition without approval from the City Council allocated $100,000 to fund Ron Walker’s Grand Prix extravaganza.

Deal done behind closed doors without City Council approval

There is ongoing concern as to the legality of John So – “Who can not say No” deal. Issues such as permission to close off public streets, security and public liability are still unresolved.

City Council offers in December last year had rejected approaches made by the Grand Prix Organization for the City Council to fund the $100,000 John So extravaganza.

John So has overstepped his authority. The State Government, the State Ombudsman and State Auditor General must investigate to reassure ratepayers that the Lord Mayor’s has acted within the terms of his authority. Calls by Cr Clarke and other City Councillors must not fall on death ears.

All ready the City Council’s projected income is $4 Million Dollars below expected revenue.

The allocation of 100,000 for this event is not included in the City Council’s budget. Other programs and events seeking public funding will have to be sacrificed to make ends meet.

If it turns out John So has acted improper then he should resign forthwith.

The City Council meets tomorrow to consider this issue. It is unclear if this matter will be discussed on open public session.

So $100,000 Grand Prix deal riles council
Sourek: The Age
Clay Lucas
February 12, 2007

JOHN So has reinforced his reputation as the Lord Mayor who cannot say no, especially when Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker pays a visit to Town Hall.

A report into Melbourne City Council’s deal to sponsor next month’s Grand Prix warm-up in Lygon Street has found that the Lord Mayor unilaterally decreed that $100,000 in funding be found for the event.

Cr So’s decision to use public funds to pay for the Ferrari promotion came despite council officers having already rejected the Grand Prix Corporation’s overtures for funding.

The Lord Mayor pledged the sponsorship after a meeting with Mr Walker and Grand Prix boss Tim Bamford on January 23.

But council officers told the Grand Prix Corporation in December that the council could not afford to fund the Lygon Street Ferrari Festival.

No other councillors were consulted before Cr So told chief executive David Pitchford — whose $300,000 contract is up for renewal next month — to find $100,000 in funding for the event.

“This is a deal done behind closed doors,” said Cr Peter Clarke, who yesterday called for an Ombudsman investigation into the sponsorship.

“There is only one place to allocate public money like this: in a public forum. How many other times has public money has been allocated in this way?”

Finance chairman Brian Shanahan was also dismayed that council money was being spent on an event for the Grand Prix Corporation. “We are around $4 million down on our expected parking revenue. We should be avoiding expenditures like this, especially when the Grand Prix can pay for it,” he said.

Cr So, who is overseas, did not comment yesterday. But Mr Pitchford issued a statement saying there had been “no abuse of power”.

Mr Walker yesterday said it had been “right and proper” for him to pay a visit to the Lord Mayor. “When there are issues to be sorted out, the chairman of the (Grand Prix) corporation and the Lord Mayor sit down and try to work it out,” Mr Walker, said heaping praise on Cr So. “He is one of the best lord mayors we have ever had.”

The Ferrari Festival will feature a parade of vintage Ferrari cars and a formula one racing car.

At a special meeting of council tomorrow to decide whether the event will go ahead, the father of Damian Cooper — who died last month after being struck down by a car on Lygon Street — will attend to plead with councillors to lower the Ferrari parade’s 60 km/h speed limit.