Robert Doyle: What would you remove from the budget?

Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, at last night’s Special Council meeting, asked “what would you remove from the Council’s budget to save money?”

Listen here (15min)

I would scrape the Lord Mayor’s Limo (Something Robert said he would do but hasn’t)

They could also scrape Lord Mayor’s Free Booze Bar, Free Councillor Car Parking and Staff Overseas Junkets.
 
“There is a $10.5 million shortfall in parking revenue basically caused by compliance, people are following the rules so our projected fines did not reach what we thought we were going to get,” Robert Doyle

Council’s Embarrassing Moment as it slugs ratepayers and City commuters

The Melbourne City Council has published its four year plan and 2013-1014 budget.  In an embarrassing oversight the Council nearly passed a recommendation approving the wrong City plan.

The recommendation outlined in the notice paper listed

Recommendation from management
8. That Council:
8.1.approves the draft Council Plan 2009–13
for release for public notice (Notice)
from 10 May to 7June 2013
Should have been the 2013-2017 draft Council plan
Thankfully a member of the public altered the Council to the administrative oversight and the Council was able to amend the recommendation before it was too late.  Had they not  done so they would have had to convene another meeting to pass the correct motion, costing ratepayers 10s of thousands of dollars.

As much as I would have been amused I could not sit by watch such a blatant oversight go unnoticed.  That’s our Council administration for you.

John So leaves office Having failed to deliver on promises leaving behind a mountain of debt and uncertainly

Council’s efforts fail despite extra $64m
by Kate Lahey The Age October 11, 2008

MELBOURNE City Council has failed to meet almost a third of its benchmarks for the past year, despite raking in an extra $64 million through rates, fines and grants, its annual report shows.

Of the 48 “deliverables” the council set for itself in 2007-08, only 30 were completed.

Among its disappointments are a review of heritage precincts that did not occur and a failure to compile and publish the results of the 2005-06 green building retrofit program.

Despite a memorandum of understanding between the city, State Government and the Seattle Trade Development Alliance, nothing has happened, the report says.

The council has also failed to secure a new site for the Melbourne Wholesale Fish Market. The annual report says traders will be kicked out by the end of March, without any chance of a new home before late 2010.

The report, released last night, shows Cr Fiona Snedden claimed the highest amount of expenses, $37,000, of which $9000 was for child care and $18,000 for overseas travel. Lord Mayor John So claimed more than $20,000, of which $14,000 was for overseas travel.

As at June 30, the City of Melbourne employed 1139 people, more than 10% of them on more than $100,000 a year, excluding councillors and the chief executive.

The council’s total consolidated revenue was $425 million and its consolidated surplus for the financial year was $98 million.

John So leaves office Having failed to deliver on promises leaving behind a mountain of debt and uncertainly

Council’s efforts fail despite extra $64m
by Kate Lahey The Age October 11, 2008

MELBOURNE City Council has failed to meet almost a third of its benchmarks for the past year, despite raking in an extra $64 million through rates, fines and grants, its annual report shows.

Of the 48 “deliverables” the council set for itself in 2007-08, only 30 were completed.

Among its disappointments are a review of heritage precincts that did not occur and a failure to compile and publish the results of the 2005-06 green building retrofit program.

Despite a memorandum of understanding between the city, State Government and the Seattle Trade Development Alliance, nothing has happened, the report says.

The council has also failed to secure a new site for the Melbourne Wholesale Fish Market. The annual report says traders will be kicked out by the end of March, without any chance of a new home before late 2010.

The report, released last night, shows Cr Fiona Snedden claimed the highest amount of expenses, $37,000, of which $9000 was for child care and $18,000 for overseas travel. Lord Mayor John So claimed more than $20,000, of which $14,000 was for overseas travel.

As at June 30, the City of Melbourne employed 1139 people, more than 10% of them on more than $100,000 a year, excluding councillors and the chief executive.

The council’s total consolidated revenue was $425 million and its consolidated surplus for the financial year was $98 million.

John So leaves office Having failed to deliver on promises leaving behind a mountain of debt and uncertainly

Council’s efforts fail despite extra $64m
by Kate Lahey The Age October 11, 2008

MELBOURNE City Council has failed to meet almost a third of its benchmarks for the past year, despite raking in an extra $64 million through rates, fines and grants, its annual report shows.

Of the 48 “deliverables” the council set for itself in 2007-08, only 30 were completed.

Among its disappointments are a review of heritage precincts that did not occur and a failure to compile and publish the results of the 2005-06 green building retrofit program.

Despite a memorandum of understanding between the city, State Government and the Seattle Trade Development Alliance, nothing has happened, the report says.

The council has also failed to secure a new site for the Melbourne Wholesale Fish Market. The annual report says traders will be kicked out by the end of March, without any chance of a new home before late 2010.

The report, released last night, shows Cr Fiona Snedden claimed the highest amount of expenses, $37,000, of which $9000 was for child care and $18,000 for overseas travel. Lord Mayor John So claimed more than $20,000, of which $14,000 was for overseas travel.

As at June 30, the City of Melbourne employed 1139 people, more than 10% of them on more than $100,000 a year, excluding councillors and the chief executive.

The council’s total consolidated revenue was $425 million and its consolidated surplus for the financial year was $98 million.

Rate rise as sun sets on So Residents face hike in City Rates to pay for Johns Travels

The Melbourne City Council has published its budget which shows an eight percent increase in Council rates and income. With CPI recorded at 4% that’s a net 4% increase in Council rates.

BUT the council figures have been though the Council Finance laundry and the whites look whiter then white.

Here are some of the tricks they try

The budget comparison is based on the mid year review of last years budget. The Council underestimates the income and low and behold come mid year review there is more money received then they expected. The mid year budget is revised and the Council spends the win-fall which is then used to set the bench line in the following years budget.

In spite a recommendation by the Council Auditors the City Council has not listed a budget allocation for overseas trips and Council expenses. They have an open check as the costs of Councillors expenditure is concealed in the overall expenses.

Prior to the Kennet financial review the Council was required to publish a full detail budget./ Nowe they just published the minimum. Previously;y the Council cam under criticism for printing what was considered to be a City size telephone book budget. Many trees dies to publish this document. Now we have the Internet there is no real reason why the Council does not publish the full breakdown. It could be that with this information readily avail;able the Council does not really want it published.

NAV

The City of Melbourne operates on a NAV (Net Annual Value) as property values increase so does the Council’s take – A windfall in times of plenty. Many resident’s in the city will be faced with much higher rate bills as their property value has increased substantial above and beyond their income and CPI

Many residents might be seriously considering selling up and moving to less expensive rateable areas.

The Council is renowned for its over inflating costs and estimates. A recent quotation on air flights to China and accommodation was four to six times the going market rate. Our City fathers are big spenders with no expense spared in luxury or budget costs when it comes to overseas junkets. The council tried to provide Councillors with a per-diem payment when they travel. The Administration conviniently forgot that whilst Councillors are entitled to receive reimbursements for “Out of pocket expenses” they are not entitled to receive an allowance above and beyond the allowances set by the State Government. Question are still unanswered as to the legality of the Council’s decision to provide Outgoing Deputy Lord Mayor Garry Singer a fully paid Limousine, free petrol and running costs (Including a hefty repair bill). Garry Singer is a part time “employee of the Council. I appears that Cr Singer uses his Council funded vehicle for private non-council use and does not pay tax or reimburse the City for his non-out-of-pocket use of the car. The Government and auditor general appear to be turning a blind eye to this unauthorized additional allowance which is not available to other Councillors. It is understood that the City must also pick up the Fringe Benefit tax for these “questionable additional benefits” Of course it is not the Councillors and staff that foots the bill but the City ratepayer.

Our City Council shows no care and no responsibility when it comes to spending our money and increasing the costs of living in the city once claimed to be the worlds most livable city..

Unlike private businesses, who struggle to obtain an increase in Income, The Council income and expenditure is in reality another impost on the City ratepayers.

Artcle ABC news
Article Herald Sun

Rate rise as sun sets on So Residents face hike in City Rates to pay for Johns Travels

The Melbourne City Council has published its budget which shows an eight percent increase in Council rates and income. With CPI recorded at 4% that’s a net 4% increase in Council rates.

BUT the council figures have been though the Council Finance laundry and the whites look whiter then white.

Here are some of the tricks they try

The budget comparison is based on the mid year review of last years budget. The Council underestimates the income and low and behold come mid year review there is more money received then they expected. The mid year budget is revised and the Council spends the win-fall which is then used to set the bench line in the following years budget.

In spite a recommendation by the Council Auditors the City Council has not listed a budget allocation for overseas trips and Council expenses. They have an open check as the costs of Councillors expenditure is concealed in the overall expenses.

Prior to the Kennet financial review the Council was required to publish a full detail budget./ Nowe they just published the minimum. Previously;y the Council cam under criticism for printing what was considered to be a City size telephone book budget. Many trees dies to publish this document. Now we have the Internet there is no real reason why the Council does not publish the full breakdown. It could be that with this information readily avail;able the Council does not really want it published.

NAV

The City of Melbourne operates on a NAV (Net Annual Value) as property values increase so does the Council’s take – A windfall in times of plenty. Many resident’s in the city will be faced with much higher rate bills as their property value has increased substantial above and beyond their income and CPI

Many residents might be seriously considering selling up and moving to less expensive rateable areas.

The Council is renowned for its over inflating costs and estimates. A recent quotation on air flights to China and accommodation was four to six times the going market rate. Our City fathers are big spenders with no expense spared in luxury or budget costs when it comes to overseas junkets. The council tried to provide Councillors with a per-diem payment when they travel. The Administration conviniently forgot that whilst Councillors are entitled to receive reimbursements for “Out of pocket expenses” they are not entitled to receive an allowance above and beyond the allowances set by the State Government. Question are still unanswered as to the legality of the Council’s decision to provide Outgoing Deputy Lord Mayor Garry Singer a fully paid Limousine, free petrol and running costs (Including a hefty repair bill). Garry Singer is a part time “employee of the Council. I appears that Cr Singer uses his Council funded vehicle for private non-council use and does not pay tax or reimburse the City for his non-out-of-pocket use of the car. The Government and auditor general appear to be turning a blind eye to this unauthorized additional allowance which is not available to other Councillors. It is understood that the City must also pick up the Fringe Benefit tax for these “questionable additional benefits” Of course it is not the Councillors and staff that foots the bill but the City ratepayer.

Our City Council shows no care and no responsibility when it comes to spending our money and increasing the costs of living in the city once claimed to be the worlds most livable city..

Unlike private businesses, who struggle to obtain an increase in Income, The Council income and expenditure is in reality another impost on the City ratepayers.

Artcle ABC news
Article Herald Sun

Rate rise as sun sets on So Residents face hike in City Rates to pay for Johns Travels

The Melbourne City Council has published its budget which shows an eight percent increase in Council rates and income. With CPI recorded at 4% that’s a net 4% increase in Council rates.

BUT the council figures have been though the Council Finance laundry and the whites look whiter then white.

Here are some of the tricks they try

The budget comparison is based on the mid year review of last years budget. The Council underestimates the income and low and behold come mid year review there is more money received then they expected. The mid year budget is revised and the Council spends the win-fall which is then used to set the bench line in the following years budget.

In spite a recommendation by the Council Auditors the City Council has not listed a budget allocation for overseas trips and Council expenses. They have an open check as the costs of Councillors expenditure is concealed in the overall expenses.

Prior to the Kennet financial review the Council was required to publish a full detail budget./ Nowe they just published the minimum. Previously;y the Council cam under criticism for printing what was considered to be a City size telephone book budget. Many trees dies to publish this document. Now we have the Internet there is no real reason why the Council does not publish the full breakdown. It could be that with this information readily avail;able the Council does not really want it published.

NAV

The City of Melbourne operates on a NAV (Net Annual Value) as property values increase so does the Council’s take – A windfall in times of plenty. Many resident’s in the city will be faced with much higher rate bills as their property value has increased substantial above and beyond their income and CPI

Many residents might be seriously considering selling up and moving to less expensive rateable areas.

The Council is renowned for its over inflating costs and estimates. A recent quotation on air flights to China and accommodation was four to six times the going market rate. Our City fathers are big spenders with no expense spared in luxury or budget costs when it comes to overseas junkets. The council tried to provide Councillors with a per-diem payment when they travel. The Administration conviniently forgot that whilst Councillors are entitled to receive reimbursements for “Out of pocket expenses” they are not entitled to receive an allowance above and beyond the allowances set by the State Government. Question are still unanswered as to the legality of the Council’s decision to provide Outgoing Deputy Lord Mayor Garry Singer a fully paid Limousine, free petrol and running costs (Including a hefty repair bill). Garry Singer is a part time “employee of the Council. I appears that Cr Singer uses his Council funded vehicle for private non-council use and does not pay tax or reimburse the City for his non-out-of-pocket use of the car. The Government and auditor general appear to be turning a blind eye to this unauthorized additional allowance which is not available to other Councillors. It is understood that the City must also pick up the Fringe Benefit tax for these “questionable additional benefits” Of course it is not the Councillors and staff that foots the bill but the City ratepayer.

Our City Council shows no care and no responsibility when it comes to spending our money and increasing the costs of living in the city once claimed to be the worlds most livable city..

Unlike private businesses, who struggle to obtain an increase in Income, The Council income and expenditure is in reality another impost on the City ratepayers.

Artcle ABC news
Article Herald Sun

So Financially Challenged Melbourne goes into deficit for second year running

Melbourne City Council expected to go into deficit for a second year running as rates soar in order to pay the exhorbanent costs of the City Council .

Meanwhile John So, Melbourne Million Dollar a year Lord Mayor who hardly ever attends Council’s finance and governance meetings, will take leave when the City Council brings down its budget that will see in the election of a new Council,

Property values in the City have soared in the ;last two years and as a result the amount of money paid in rates has increased substantially, providing a win-fall for the city. Melbourne City Council works on a NAV (Net Annual Value) rating system based on the valuation of rateable property in the City. As property values increase size does the amount of rates paid top the extravagant financially irresponsible city council.

On top of the rate increase that Council is also expected to gain a windfall in funding thought secondary incomes streams such as the Road Congestion tax and additional service fees that have crept in under John So’s watch.

Asset rich income poor. The hardest hit in the rate increase will be pensioners and residents on a low income. Many ratepayers and residents of the city will soon find it too expensive to live within the City boundaries will be forced to sell up and move to a cheaper place to live outside the city.

Deficit budget is not good for Melbourne.

A deficit budget would see Melbourne’s financial position worsen yet again as John So continues his high spend fest, minimal care over Melbourne’s future.

Melbourne City Council and John So faces re-election in November and it is unclear if John So will run for a third term as Melbourne’s Lord Mayor. John So has become Melbourne Most travelled lord Mayor has he and his staff continue to milk the City’s treasury to funds John So’s Chinese adventures. A deficit budget will add further financial pressure on the new City Council.

If the new Council does not come to terms with Melbourne high cost big spending administration it will soon face bankruptcy adding further to the financial pressure and possible future devaluation of property which will further diminish the City’s financial stability.

So Financially Challenged Melbourne goes into deficit for second year running

Melbourne City Council expected to go into deficit for a second year running as rates soar in order to pay the exhorbanent costs of the City Council .

Meanwhile John So, Melbourne Million Dollar a year Lord Mayor who hardly ever attends Council’s finance and governance meetings, will take leave when the City Council brings down its budget that will see in the election of a new Council,

Property values in the City have soared in the ;last two years and as a result the amount of money paid in rates has increased substantially, providing a win-fall for the city. Melbourne City Council works on a NAV (Net Annual Value) rating system based on the valuation of rateable property in the City. As property values increase size does the amount of rates paid top the extravagant financially irresponsible city council.

On top of the rate increase that Council is also expected to gain a windfall in funding thought secondary incomes streams such as the Road Congestion tax and additional service fees that have crept in under John So’s watch.

Asset rich income poor. The hardest hit in the rate increase will be pensioners and residents on a low income. Many ratepayers and residents of the city will soon find it too expensive to live within the City boundaries will be forced to sell up and move to a cheaper place to live outside the city.

Deficit budget is not good for Melbourne.

A deficit budget would see Melbourne’s financial position worsen yet again as John So continues his high spend fest, minimal care over Melbourne’s future.

Melbourne City Council and John So faces re-election in November and it is unclear if John So will run for a third term as Melbourne’s Lord Mayor. John So has become Melbourne Most travelled lord Mayor has he and his staff continue to milk the City’s treasury to funds John So’s Chinese adventures. A deficit budget will add further financial pressure on the new City Council.

If the new Council does not come to terms with Melbourne high cost big spending administration it will soon face bankruptcy adding further to the financial pressure and possible future devaluation of property which will further diminish the City’s financial stability.

So Financially Challenged Melbourne goes into deficit for second year running

Melbourne City Council expected to go into deficit for a second year running as rates soar in order to pay the exhorbanent costs of the City Council .

Meanwhile John So, Melbourne Million Dollar a year Lord Mayor who hardly ever attends Council’s finance and governance meetings, will take leave when the City Council brings down its budget that will see in the election of a new Council,

Property values in the City have soared in the ;last two years and as a result the amount of money paid in rates has increased substantially, providing a win-fall for the city. Melbourne City Council works on a NAV (Net Annual Value) rating system based on the valuation of rateable property in the City. As property values increase size does the amount of rates paid top the extravagant financially irresponsible city council.

On top of the rate increase that Council is also expected to gain a windfall in funding thought secondary incomes streams such as the Road Congestion tax and additional service fees that have crept in under John So’s watch.

Asset rich income poor. The hardest hit in the rate increase will be pensioners and residents on a low income. Many ratepayers and residents of the city will soon find it too expensive to live within the City boundaries will be forced to sell up and move to a cheaper place to live outside the city.

Deficit budget is not good for Melbourne.

A deficit budget would see Melbourne’s financial position worsen yet again as John So continues his high spend fest, minimal care over Melbourne’s future.

Melbourne City Council and John So faces re-election in November and it is unclear if John So will run for a third term as Melbourne’s Lord Mayor. John So has become Melbourne Most travelled lord Mayor has he and his staff continue to milk the City’s treasury to funds John So’s Chinese adventures. A deficit budget will add further financial pressure on the new City Council.

If the new Council does not come to terms with Melbourne high cost big spending administration it will soon face bankruptcy adding further to the financial pressure and possible future devaluation of property which will further diminish the City’s financial stability.

Being Ernst and Young Melbourne City Council’s $300,000 Efficiency Report

Melbourne City Council has published, following public outcry and ongoing speculation, has decided to publish secret $300,000 Ernst and Young – Efficiency Report.

The report confirms what everyone has known but the City Council refused to acknowledge. It cost the City Council over $300,000. This report, well worth the read if not the cost, will become a road map by which ratepayers and the State Government will review the performance of the Council and to senior management.

To date the report card is not looking good. We have seen a continued reduction in the working capital of the City Council and a ever expanding costs and wasted expenditure.

Can John So turn the sinking ship around before it goes bottom up?

John So has tried to place the blame on the CEO claiming that the CEO is responsible for staff management and Council finances. It was only two months ago that John So and the City Council resolved to extend David Pitchford’s employment contract (be it for a reduced two year tenure). If the Ceo performance and financial management has been so bad that John So now finds it necessary to cast blame on David Pickfords performance then why was his contract renewed and why didn’t the City Council put to open public tender the Ceo position?

The Fact remains that John So must share responsibility for the financial blowout. Under John So’s term of Office Melbourne has seen a massive increase in staffing and expenditure. increased income from expanding property values and rate revenue have underpinned the Council’s exuberance and excess. Now reality hits. If the Council fails to act and reduce costs the City Council will be bankrupt in ten years time. Increases in property values and expansion of City development will not save the council from it’s financial fate. Hard decisions need to be made. Decisions that are made worst by John So’s negligence and high expenditure.

The State Government must also act to address the situation. It is not just the City of Melbourne that is under financial pressure other city Councils also are feeling the burden of keeping rate increases to a minimum whilst delivering essential services. Many Councils can not afford the luxuries that the City of Melbourne forks out. Councillors and Staff are treated to numerous benefits, free meals, free booze and 5 star overseas “Fact Finding Excursions” the lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors have an all expenses paid limousines and a full time drive costing $100,000 a year at the Lord Mayor’s disposal. (the costs of which is not disclosed in the Council’s published expense statements).

The State Government needs to fulfill its promise to the electorate in the lead up to the 2006 State Election. Melbourne City Councils external boundaries need to be reviewed along with its representative model.

Greater Melbourne – Long term efficiency gain

Councilor Peter Clark highlighted the issue when he called for public debate on the creation of a Greater Melbourne and efficiency gains in planning and finance that would benefit Victoria and Melbourne Inner City development.

Cr Clark’s motion was scuttled by John So, who refused to allow debate and consideration of a Greater Melbourne and review of the City Council’s representative model.

The State Government must reject John So head in the sand approach and initiate a review and encourage debate about the possible merger of inner city municipalities as a way of generating greater efficiency and service delivery to Melbourne.

Being Ernst and Young Melbourne City Council’s $300,000 Efficiency Report

Melbourne City Council has published, following public outcry and ongoing speculation, has decided to publish secret $300,000 Ernst and Young – Efficiency Report.

The report confirms what everyone has known but the City Council refused to acknowledge. It cost the City Council over $300,000. This report, well worth the read if not the cost, will become a road map by which ratepayers and the State Government will review the performance of the Council and to senior management.

To date the report card is not looking good. We have seen a continued reduction in the working capital of the City Council and a ever expanding costs and wasted expenditure.

Can John So turn the sinking ship around before it goes bottom up?

John So has tried to place the blame on the CEO claiming that the CEO is responsible for staff management and Council finances. It was only two months ago that John So and the City Council resolved to extend David Pitchford’s employment contract (be it for a reduced two year tenure). If the Ceo performance and financial management has been so bad that John So now finds it necessary to cast blame on David Pickfords performance then why was his contract renewed and why didn’t the City Council put to open public tender the Ceo position?

The Fact remains that John So must share responsibility for the financial blowout. Under John So’s term of Office Melbourne has seen a massive increase in staffing and expenditure. increased income from expanding property values and rate revenue have underpinned the Council’s exuberance and excess. Now reality hits. If the Council fails to act and reduce costs the City Council will be bankrupt in ten years time. Increases in property values and expansion of City development will not save the council from it’s financial fate. Hard decisions need to be made. Decisions that are made worst by John So’s negligence and high expenditure.

The State Government must also act to address the situation. It is not just the City of Melbourne that is under financial pressure other city Councils also are feeling the burden of keeping rate increases to a minimum whilst delivering essential services. Many Councils can not afford the luxuries that the City of Melbourne forks out. Councillors and Staff are treated to numerous benefits, free meals, free booze and 5 star overseas “Fact Finding Excursions” the lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors have an all expenses paid limousines and a full time drive costing $100,000 a year at the Lord Mayor’s disposal. (the costs of which is not disclosed in the Council’s published expense statements).

The State Government needs to fulfill its promise to the electorate in the lead up to the 2006 State Election. Melbourne City Councils external boundaries need to be reviewed along with its representative model.

Greater Melbourne – Long term efficiency gain

Councilor Peter Clark highlighted the issue when he called for public debate on the creation of a Greater Melbourne and efficiency gains in planning and finance that would benefit Victoria and Melbourne Inner City development.

Cr Clark’s motion was scuttled by John So, who refused to allow debate and consideration of a Greater Melbourne and review of the City Council’s representative model.

The State Government must reject John So head in the sand approach and initiate a review and encourage debate about the possible merger of inner city municipalities as a way of generating greater efficiency and service delivery to Melbourne.

Being Ernst and Young Melbourne City Council’s $300,000 Efficiency Report

Melbourne City Council has published, following public outcry and ongoing speculation, has decided to publish secret $300,000 Ernst and Young – Efficiency Report.

The report confirms what everyone has known but the City Council refused to acknowledge. It cost the City Council over $300,000. This report, well worth the read if not the cost, will become a road map by which ratepayers and the State Government will review the performance of the Council and to senior management.

To date the report card is not looking good. We have seen a continued reduction in the working capital of the City Council and a ever expanding costs and wasted expenditure.

Can John So turn the sinking ship around before it goes bottom up?

John So has tried to place the blame on the CEO claiming that the CEO is responsible for staff management and Council finances. It was only two months ago that John So and the City Council resolved to extend David Pitchford’s employment contract (be it for a reduced two year tenure). If the Ceo performance and financial management has been so bad that John So now finds it necessary to cast blame on David Pickfords performance then why was his contract renewed and why didn’t the City Council put to open public tender the Ceo position?

The Fact remains that John So must share responsibility for the financial blowout. Under John So’s term of Office Melbourne has seen a massive increase in staffing and expenditure. increased income from expanding property values and rate revenue have underpinned the Council’s exuberance and excess. Now reality hits. If the Council fails to act and reduce costs the City Council will be bankrupt in ten years time. Increases in property values and expansion of City development will not save the council from it’s financial fate. Hard decisions need to be made. Decisions that are made worst by John So’s negligence and high expenditure.

The State Government must also act to address the situation. It is not just the City of Melbourne that is under financial pressure other city Councils also are feeling the burden of keeping rate increases to a minimum whilst delivering essential services. Many Councils can not afford the luxuries that the City of Melbourne forks out. Councillors and Staff are treated to numerous benefits, free meals, free booze and 5 star overseas “Fact Finding Excursions” the lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors have an all expenses paid limousines and a full time drive costing $100,000 a year at the Lord Mayor’s disposal. (the costs of which is not disclosed in the Council’s published expense statements).

The State Government needs to fulfill its promise to the electorate in the lead up to the 2006 State Election. Melbourne City Councils external boundaries need to be reviewed along with its representative model.

Greater Melbourne – Long term efficiency gain

Councilor Peter Clark highlighted the issue when he called for public debate on the creation of a Greater Melbourne and efficiency gains in planning and finance that would benefit Victoria and Melbourne Inner City development.

Cr Clark’s motion was scuttled by John So, who refused to allow debate and consideration of a Greater Melbourne and review of the City Council’s representative model.

The State Government must reject John So head in the sand approach and initiate a review and encourage debate about the possible merger of inner city municipalities as a way of generating greater efficiency and service delivery to Melbourne.

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.

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