Junkets Away: Councillors Overseas Travel

Five months late the City of Melbourne has finally published it’s Overseas and Interstate Travel costs for the term of the previous Council (Dec-2008 to Nov-2012)

Topping the bill of the most travelled Councillors is the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle

Interstate and Overseas Travel – Total
Councillor Cost
Robert Doyle $55,254.80
Peter Clarke $50,736.55
Susan Riley $27,084.08
Brian Shanahan $25,010.37
Kevin Louey $22,715.35
Cathy Oke $15,917.67
Ken Ong $12,829.19
Carl Jetter $3,956.08
Rob Adams $2,670.60
Jennifer Kanis $40.27

Shanahan absent due to poor health

Melbourne City Councillor Brian Shanahan is undergoing treatment for cancer and has applied for an absence of leave from the Council.

Whilst we wish Cr. Shanahan all the best at this time we must ask the question should his prolonged absence and state of health impact on the operations of the City Council and should he not in the interest of the Council and representative democracy resign?

The City of Melbourne Council has less than 10 months left to serve before going to the polls in November 2012.

This is a decision that Cr. Shanahan should consider now rather then later. If he is unable to fulfill his term of office then he should step aside and allow his position to be filled by someone else.

Should Shanahan resign his position would most likely be filled by Connie Pagliantani (Number two on Cr Shanahan’s ticket). No doubts there are some in the Council Administration that do not want to see Ms Pagliantani elected to office.

Mean while the City Council continued to hold meetings behind closed doors contrary to the Local Government Act, It appear that the Council has formalised these illegal “Council Forum” gatherings, the public is denied access or oversight. Minutes are not tabled and decisions of the forum are made under officer delegation. The elected Council p[lays such a low role in the affairs of the Council the Council Web site has them as an aside below the administration. Not one word by the elected representatives, who have forgotten the meaning of open transparent governance. I guess if Cr Shanahan does not step aside tit will not matter anyway. no one will notice his absence.

Shanahan absent due to poor health

Melbourne City Councillor Brian Shanahan is undergoing treatment for cancer and has applied for an absence of leave from the Council.

Whilst we wish Cr. Shanahan all the best at this time we must ask the question should his prolonged absence and state of health impact on the operations of the City Council and should he not in the interest of the Council and representative democracy resign?

The City of Melbourne Council has less then 10 months left to serve before going to the goes to the polls in November 2012.

This is a decision that Cr. Shanahan should consider now rather then later. If he is unable to fulfill his term of office then he should step aside and allow his position to be filled by someone else.

Should Shanahan resign his position would most likely be filled by Connie Pagliantani (Number two on Cr Shanahan’s ticket). No doubts there are some in the Council Administration that do not want to see Ms Pagliantani elected to office.

Mean while the City Council continued to hold meetings behind closed doors contrary to the Local Government Act, It appear that the Council has formalised these illegal “Council Forum” gatherings, the public is denied access or oversight. Minutes are not tabled and decisions of the forum are made under officer delegation. The elected Council p[lays such a low role in the affairs of the Council the Council Web site has them as an aside below the administration. Not one word by the elected representatives, who have forgotten the meaning of open transparent governance. I guess if Cr Shanahan does not step aside tit will not matter anyway. no one will notice his absence.

Shanahan absent due to poor health

Melbourne City Councillor Brian Shanahan is undergoing treatment for cancer and has applied for an absence of leave from the Council.

Whilst we wish Cr. Shanahan all the best at this time we must ask the question should his prolonged absence and state of health impact on the operations of the City Council and should he not in the interest of the Council and representative democracy resign?

The City of Melbourne Council has less than 10 months left to serve before going to the polls in November 2012.

This is a decision that Cr. Shanahan should consider now rather then later. If he is unable to fulfill his term of office then he should step aside and allow his position to be filled by someone else.

Should Shanahan resign his position would most likely be filled by Connie Pagliantani (Number two on Cr Shanahan’s ticket). No doubts there are some in the Council Administration that do not want to see Ms Pagliantani elected to office.

Mean while the City Council continued to hold meetings behind closed doors contrary to the Local Government Act, It appear that the Council has formalised these illegal “Council Forum” gatherings, the public is denied access or oversight. Minutes are not tabled and decisions of the forum are made under officer delegation. The elected Council p[lays such a low role in the affairs of the Council the Council Web site has them as an aside below the administration. Not one word by the elected representatives, who have forgotten the meaning of open transparent governance. I guess if Cr Shanahan does not step aside tit will not matter anyway. no one will notice his absence.

New Clowns Selected for new season performance

Melbourne City Council has elected the best of the best – new Clowns and some of our favorite clowns returned to office

Starring:

Leadership Team
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle (2008-)
Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley (2001-2004, 2008-

Councillors:
Peter Clarke (2004-)
Carl Jetter (2004-)
Jennifer Kanis (2008-)
Kevin Louey (2008)
Cathy Oke (2008-)
Ken Ong (2008-)
Brian Shanahan (2004-)

New Clowns Selected for new season performance

Melbourne City Council has elected the best of the best – new Clowns and some of our favorite clowns returned to office

Starring:

Leadership Team
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle (2008-)
Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley (2001-2004, 2008-

Councillors:
Peter Clarke (2004-)
Carl Jetter (2004-)
Jennifer Kanis (2008-)
Kevin Louey (2008)
Cathy Oke (2008-)
Ken Ong (2008-)
Brian Shanahan (2004-)

New Clowns Selected for new season performance

Melbourne City Council has elected the best of the best – new Clowns and some of our favorite clowns returned to office

Starring:

Leadership Team
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle (2008-)
Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley (2001-2004, 2008-

Councillors:
Peter Clarke (2004-)
Carl Jetter (2004-)
Jennifer Kanis (2008-)
Kevin Louey (2008)
Cathy Oke (2008-)
Ken Ong (2008-)
Brian Shanahan (2004-)

Cock’s Tender Up as Cull begins John So under pressure to make ends meet

Melbourne City Council begins to implement some of the recommendation contained in the $300,000 efficiency report as the Council begins to prune the bush and cut back on John So uncontrolled expenditure.

If anything John So has demonstrated that he has no idea of strategic investment. Wasted investments such as the Tourist Bus and lighting the Tan are just two examples of how out of touch with reality John So is from the day to day management of the Council.

John So last week faced a no-confidence motion amidst claims that he was a hands-off, removed from the coal-face, Lord Mayor.

This is one of the main problems identified with the populist direct election models. If Melbourne was sincere about good governance then it would scrape the hybrid direct election model, expand the city boundaries and the size of the elected City Council. The Lord Mayor, or at least the chairman of the Council, should be apointed from and by the elected Councillors.

There still is a long way to go and more cut backs can be expected. Still unknown is the extent of redundancy and breach of contract payouts the Council has to fork out. Again pointing to further stuff-ups and blow-outs in the City Council’s Finance.

Finance Committee Chairperson Brian Shanahan has been the one that has had to take the flack and the task of doing all the hard work. Last week Shanahan voted no-confidence in John So as the Council’s leader. Shanahan also voted against the Council’s budget. Shanahan now needs to consider whether he will continue to prop up John So and remain his silent puppet or resign from being Chairman of the Council’s the Finance Committee.


Senior executives to go in council cull
Clay Lucas, The Age May 30, 2007

Melbourne City Council could cut up to 100 staff in a second round of redundancies, a report reveals.

The council is expected to save $1.5 million by sacking 26 people, including several senior executives, in the first round of redundancies, announced earlier today.

It would save a further $5.7 million in redundancies in the second round, the report says.

In the first round of redundancies, the Council will sack several senior executives, including its controversial spin doctor.

The council is set to reveal 26 redundancies as part of its biggest shake-up in 14 years, theage.com.au understands, with up to 100 more to go in the coming months.

Two directors, 10 executives and 14 staff are among those expected to be made redundant today.

Corporate affairs director Hayden Cock, whose package is worth $220,000, is believed to be among those to be made redundant.

Chief executive David Pitchford notified each of the 26 staff this morning.

The move follows the completion last month of a $300,000 report by consultants Ernst & Young on how the council could cut costs.

The report found a massive blowout in labour costs at the council, huge problems with its parking officers, a blowout in executives at the council on more than $100,000, and an explosion of spending on marketing.

Lord Mayor John So, who did not return calls, will come under immense pressure now the confidential report is public.

The report’s highly critical findings have found many problems at the council have emerged since 2002 – the year after Councillor So became Lord Mayor.

Other related coverage Links from the Age
Mayor survives attacks, but loses Dalai Lama fight
Big-spending mayor goes for broke
Rare revolt on budget as So confirms job cuts ahead
Budget blow-out a ‘turn on’ for media man So

Cock’s Tender Up as Cull begins John So under pressure to make ends meet

Melbourne City Council begins to implement some of the recommendation contained in the $300,000 efficiency report as the Council begins to prune the bush and cut back on John So uncontrolled expenditure.

If anything John So has demonstrated that he has no idea of strategic investment. Wasted investments such as the Tourist Bus and lighting the Tan are just two examples of how out of touch with reality John So is from the day to day management of the Council.

John So last week faced a no-confidence motion amidst claims that he was a hands-off, removed from the coal-face, Lord Mayor.

This is one of the main problems identified with the populist direct election models. If Melbourne was sincere about good governance then it would scrape the hybrid direct election model, expand the city boundaries and the size of the elected City Council. The Lord Mayor, or at least the chairman of the Council, should be apointed from and by the elected Councillors.

There still is a long way to go and more cut backs can be expected. Still unknown is the extent of redundancy and breach of contract payouts the Council has to fork out. Again pointing to further stuff-ups and blow-outs in the City Council’s Finance.

Finance Committee Chairperson Brian Shanahan has been the one that has had to take the flack and the task of doing all the hard work. Last week Shanahan voted no-confidence in John So as the Council’s leader. Shanahan also voted against the Council’s budget. Shanahan now needs to consider whether he will continue to prop up John So and remain his silent puppet or resign from being Chairman of the Council’s the Finance Committee.


Senior executives to go in council cull
Clay Lucas, The Age May 30, 2007

Melbourne City Council could cut up to 100 staff in a second round of redundancies, a report reveals.

The council is expected to save $1.5 million by sacking 26 people, including several senior executives, in the first round of redundancies, announced earlier today.

It would save a further $5.7 million in redundancies in the second round, the report says.

In the first round of redundancies, the Council will sack several senior executives, including its controversial spin doctor.

The council is set to reveal 26 redundancies as part of its biggest shake-up in 14 years, theage.com.au understands, with up to 100 more to go in the coming months.

Two directors, 10 executives and 14 staff are among those expected to be made redundant today.

Corporate affairs director Hayden Cock, whose package is worth $220,000, is believed to be among those to be made redundant.

Chief executive David Pitchford notified each of the 26 staff this morning.

The move follows the completion last month of a $300,000 report by consultants Ernst & Young on how the council could cut costs.

The report found a massive blowout in labour costs at the council, huge problems with its parking officers, a blowout in executives at the council on more than $100,000, and an explosion of spending on marketing.

Lord Mayor John So, who did not return calls, will come under immense pressure now the confidential report is public.

The report’s highly critical findings have found many problems at the council have emerged since 2002 – the year after Councillor So became Lord Mayor.

Other related coverage Links from the Age
Mayor survives attacks, but loses Dalai Lama fight
Big-spending mayor goes for broke
Rare revolt on budget as So confirms job cuts ahead
Budget blow-out a ‘turn on’ for media man So

Cock’s Tender Up as Cull begins John So under pressure to make ends meet

Melbourne City Council begins to implement some of the recommendation contained in the $300,000 efficiency report as the Council begins to prune the bush and cut back on John So uncontrolled expenditure.

If anything John So has demonstrated that he has no idea of strategic investment. Wasted investments such as the Tourist Bus and lighting the Tan are just two examples of how out of touch with reality John So is from the day to day management of the Council.

John So last week faced a no-confidence motion amidst claims that he was a hands-off, removed from the coal-face, Lord Mayor.

This is one of the main problems identified with the populist direct election models. If Melbourne was sincere about good governance then it would scrape the hybrid direct election model, expand the city boundaries and the size of the elected City Council. The Lord Mayor, or at least the chairman of the Council, should be apointed from and by the elected Councillors.

There still is a long way to go and more cut backs can be expected. Still unknown is the extent of redundancy and breach of contract payouts the Council has to fork out. Again pointing to further stuff-ups and blow-outs in the City Council’s Finance.

Finance Committee Chairperson Brian Shanahan has been the one that has had to take the flack and the task of doing all the hard work. Last week Shanahan voted no-confidence in John So as the Council’s leader. Shanahan also voted against the Council’s budget. Shanahan now needs to consider whether he will continue to prop up John So and remain his silent puppet or resign from being Chairman of the Council’s the Finance Committee.


Senior executives to go in council cull
Clay Lucas, The Age May 30, 2007

Melbourne City Council could cut up to 100 staff in a second round of redundancies, a report reveals.

The council is expected to save $1.5 million by sacking 26 people, including several senior executives, in the first round of redundancies, announced earlier today.

It would save a further $5.7 million in redundancies in the second round, the report says.

In the first round of redundancies, the Council will sack several senior executives, including its controversial spin doctor.

The council is set to reveal 26 redundancies as part of its biggest shake-up in 14 years, theage.com.au understands, with up to 100 more to go in the coming months.

Two directors, 10 executives and 14 staff are among those expected to be made redundant today.

Corporate affairs director Hayden Cock, whose package is worth $220,000, is believed to be among those to be made redundant.

Chief executive David Pitchford notified each of the 26 staff this morning.

The move follows the completion last month of a $300,000 report by consultants Ernst & Young on how the council could cut costs.

The report found a massive blowout in labour costs at the council, huge problems with its parking officers, a blowout in executives at the council on more than $100,000, and an explosion of spending on marketing.

Lord Mayor John So, who did not return calls, will come under immense pressure now the confidential report is public.

The report’s highly critical findings have found many problems at the council have emerged since 2002 – the year after Councillor So became Lord Mayor.

Other related coverage Links from the Age
Mayor survives attacks, but loses Dalai Lama fight
Big-spending mayor goes for broke
Rare revolt on budget as So confirms job cuts ahead
Budget blow-out a ‘turn on’ for media man So

Flying the Flag of Contempt City Council attacks Melbourne’s pride in its Irish Community

Flying the flag of discontent. Irish Times told to take down its flag as concern is raised about Councillor Brain Shanahan possible conflict of interest .

The Age April 6, 2006

The pub which has proudly flown the Irish flag for years has been ordered to lower its republican standard, not by agents of perfidious Albion, as a rebel ballad might have it, but by Melbourne City Council’s planning department.

In a letter to The Irish Times’ managing director, Derek Mulvihill, the council ordered that the tricolour be removed or the pub would face a $1000-plus fine.

Under the provisions of the Melbourne planning scheme only the Australian flag is permitted to be displayed without a planning permit,” the letter said.

Will the City Council require the American Embassy to remove the flag outside their consulate?

Australia has a proud tradition and its culture and and heritage predominately comes from its Irish and Scottish communities (For the record I am from Dutch, Irish and Scottish background but this should not color my belief that we should embrace our multicultural community )

The Irish Times is an Irish pub after all and surely they should be able to proudly display the Irish flag without harassment or fine from the City Council.

Has the City Council been over selective in its imposition on the Irish Times. Could Brain Shannahan have a direct conflict of interest in this matter? And what of other establishments that fly corporate and other country flags.

Mr Mulvihill said: “We were amazed to be told after five years of flying our Irish flag without incident that we had to remove it and that it needed a permit.

“It seems remarkable that, in a city that has just celebrated its multiculturalism with the Commonwealth Games, flying the flag of the small island that has contributed so much to Australia’s rich heritage is unlawful.”

What was more disappointing, he said, was the council’s advice that even if the pub were to apply for planning permission for the flag, “the application would not be entertained”.

“It came as a surprise to us to learn that it is OK to fly the Australian flag but not the Eureka flag, the Aboriginal flag or any other flag,” he said.

The council acted after a complaint. Brian is this fair?

Flying the Flag of Contempt City Council attacks Melbourne’s pride in its Irish Community

Flying the flag of discontent. Irish Times told to take down its flag as concern is raised about Councillor Brain Shanahan possible conflict of interest .

The Age April 6, 2006

The pub which has proudly flown the Irish flag for years has been ordered to lower its republican standard, not by agents of perfidious Albion, as a rebel ballad might have it, but by Melbourne City Council’s planning department.

In a letter to The Irish Times’ managing director, Derek Mulvihill, the council ordered that the tricolour be removed or the pub would face a $1000-plus fine.

Under the provisions of the Melbourne planning scheme only the Australian flag is permitted to be displayed without a planning permit,” the letter said.

Will the City Council require the American Embassy to remove the flag outside their consulate?

Australia has a proud tradition and its culture and and heritage predominately comes from its Irish and Scottish communities (For the record I am from Dutch, Irish and Scottish background but this should not color my belief that we should embrace our multicultural community )

The Irish Times is an Irish pub after all and surely they should be able to proudly display the Irish flag without harassment or fine from the City Council.

Has the City Council been over selective in its imposition on the Irish Times. Could Brain Shannahan have a direct conflict of interest in this matter? And what of other establishments that fly corporate and other country flags.

Mr Mulvihill said: “We were amazed to be told after five years of flying our Irish flag without incident that we had to remove it and that it needed a permit.

“It seems remarkable that, in a city that has just celebrated its multiculturalism with the Commonwealth Games, flying the flag of the small island that has contributed so much to Australia’s rich heritage is unlawful.”

What was more disappointing, he said, was the council’s advice that even if the pub were to apply for planning permission for the flag, “the application would not be entertained”.

“It came as a surprise to us to learn that it is OK to fly the Australian flag but not the Eureka flag, the Aboriginal flag or any other flag,” he said.

The council acted after a complaint. Brian is this fair?

Flying the Flag of Contempt City Council attacks Melbourne’s pride in its Irish Community

Flying the flag of discontent. Irish Times told to take down its flag as concern is raised about Councillor Brain Shanahan possible conflict of interest .

The Age April 6, 2006

The pub which has proudly flown the Irish flag for years has been ordered to lower its republican standard, not by agents of perfidious Albion, as a rebel ballad might have it, but by Melbourne City Council’s planning department.

In a letter to The Irish Times’ managing director, Derek Mulvihill, the council ordered that the tricolour be removed or the pub would face a $1000-plus fine.

Under the provisions of the Melbourne planning scheme only the Australian flag is permitted to be displayed without a planning permit,” the letter said.

Will the City Council require the American Embassy to remove the flag outside their consulate?

Australia has a proud tradition and its culture and and heritage predominately comes from its Irish and Scottish communities (For the record I am from Dutch, Irish and Scottish background but this should not color my belief that we should embrace our multicultural community )

The Irish Times is an Irish pub after all and surely they should be able to proudly display the Irish flag without harassment or fine from the City Council.

Has the City Council been over selective in its imposition on the Irish Times. Could Brain Shannahan have a direct conflict of interest in this matter? And what of other establishments that fly corporate and other country flags.

Mr Mulvihill said: “We were amazed to be told after five years of flying our Irish flag without incident that we had to remove it and that it needed a permit.

“It seems remarkable that, in a city that has just celebrated its multiculturalism with the Commonwealth Games, flying the flag of the small island that has contributed so much to Australia’s rich heritage is unlawful.”

What was more disappointing, he said, was the council’s advice that even if the pub were to apply for planning permission for the flag, “the application would not be entertained”.

“It came as a surprise to us to learn that it is OK to fly the Australian flag but not the Eureka flag, the Aboriginal flag or any other flag,” he said.

The council acted after a complaint. Brian is this fair?

Democracy dead and buried Melbourne City Council censorship on public submissions seeking disclosure of Councilor’s expenses

Open and Transparent Governance in Melbourne is non-existent with the City Council going to extraordinary steps to avoid accountability and responsibility.

The City Council has now embarked on an act of censorship by refusing to publish reports and public submissions that are critical of the Council’s administration and governance.

The City of Melbourne administration with the consent of Cr Brian Shanahan, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Corporate Performance Committee, failed to publish a submission presented to the Council concerning Council expenses and correspondence criticising the Council’s recently published transport policy.

The Melbourne City Council has abandoned its duty and responsibility to maintain an open and transparent system of governance.

First there was the decision of Council moved by Greens Councillor Fraser Bindley to deny public access to documents outlining the cost of inbound missions (hosting of overseas visitors) by referring a report to be considered by the Council behind closed doors at a secret meeting, now the City of Melbourne goes one step further by imposing censorship on public submissions.

This unjustified act of censorship is outrageous and corrupt.

Council clearly do not want to be held accountable and are now prepared to go to the extraordinary efforts of censorship to avoid disclosure of their expenses and criticism of the Council’s administration.

Council has a duty and obligation to consider these issues

The report and submission to Council made a number of recommendations including a request that information on the costs of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousines be included in the Councillor’s expense statements . Currently these costs are excluded from the Councillors expense statements which are false and misleading, the public have a right to know the full extent of costs and subsidies paid to Councillors.

The City Council and chairman have closed ranks and have demonstrated their continuing abuse of process and administration.

The submission was listed for discussion on the Council’s agenda but the Council failed to publish the content of the submission or consider in detail the recommendations. (copy available here). The report was a follow up and response to information disclosed following the publication of the council’s Travel Register outlining cost associated with Councils overseas and interstate Travel.

Normally all reports and submissions to be considered by the Council are published with the Council’s agenda and made available to the public but on this occasion the Council refused to publish the associated documents or make them available at the public meeting held yesterday.

“A lack of openness, transparency, information and insufficient accountability creates the conditions in which corruption flourishes”

No explanation provided.

A letter requesting an explanation and the reasons for Council’s failure to publish the documents listed on the agenda was forwarded to Cr Shanahan last Friday.

Council on Tuesday noted the report, which was not made available to the public, the council also failed to consider in detail the recommendations and issues raised. There are serious issues that continue to go unaddressed. Council administration, who were the subject of criticism in the report, falsely claimed that the report was defamatory.

Clearly the Council has something to hide and does not want the public to know

Democracy dead and buried Melbourne City Council censorship on public submissions seeking disclosure of Councilor’s expenses

Open and Transparent Governance in Melbourne is non-existent with the City Council going to extraordinary steps to avoid accountability and responsibility.

The City Council has now embarked on an act of censorship by refusing to publish reports and public submissions that are critical of the Council’s administration and governance.

The City of Melbourne administration with the consent of Cr Brian Shanahan, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Corporate Performance Committee, failed to publish a submission presented to the Council concerning Council expenses and correspondence criticising the Council’s recently published transport policy.

The Melbourne City Council has abandoned its duty and responsibility to maintain an open and transparent system of governance.

First there was the decision of Council moved by Greens Councillor Fraser Bindley to deny public access to documents outlining the cost of inbound missions (hosting of overseas visitors) by referring a report to be considered by the Council behind closed doors at a secret meeting, now the City of Melbourne goes one step further by imposing censorship on public submissions.

This unjustified act of censorship is outrageous and corrupt.

Council clearly do not want to be held accountable and are now prepared to go to the extraordinary efforts of censorship to avoid disclosure of their expenses and criticism of the Council’s administration.

Council has a duty and obligation to consider these issues

The report and submission to Council made a number of recommendations including a request that information on the costs of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousines be included in the Councillor’s expense statements . Currently these costs are excluded from the Councillors expense statements which are false and misleading, the public have a right to know the full extent of costs and subsidies paid to Councillors.

The City Council and chairman have closed ranks and have demonstrated their continuing abuse of process and administration.

The submission was listed for discussion on the Council’s agenda but the Council failed to publish the content of the submission or consider in detail the recommendations. (copy available here). The report was a follow up and response to information disclosed following the publication of the council’s Travel Register outlining cost associated with Councils overseas and interstate Travel.

Normally all reports and submissions to be considered by the Council are published with the Council’s agenda and made available to the public but on this occasion the Council refused to publish the associated documents or make them available at the public meeting held yesterday.

“A lack of openness, transparency, information and insufficient accountability creates the conditions in which corruption flourishes”

No explanation provided.

A letter requesting an explanation and the reasons for Council’s failure to publish the documents listed on the agenda was forwarded to Cr Shanahan last Friday.

Council on Tuesday noted the report, which was not made available to the public, the council also failed to consider in detail the recommendations and issues raised. There are serious issues that continue to go unaddressed. Council administration, who were the subject of criticism in the report, falsely claimed that the report was defamatory.

Clearly the Council has something to hide and does not want the public to know