- Report into Shire of Toodyay tabled in Parliament
- Inquiry looked at financial and administration failings by former CEO and Council
The Western Australian Government today tabled a report in State Parliament detailing the findings of the Inquiry into the Shire of Toodyay.
The report includes 25 findings and five recommendations, with 15 of the findings involving the Shire's former CEO. Through the investigation, poor financial and administration management practices were identified.
The report found that there was evidence to show that the Shire's CEO did not adequately discharge his duties and that Council failed to take positive action in that regard. The CEO is employed by the Council to undertake day-to-day operations. It is the role of the Council to oversee and hold the CEO to account for those day-to-day operations.
The Inquiry was commenced after a series of complaints about the Shire's operations were raised by electors and local community groups.
Matters investigated included:
- an overpayment of about $150,000 to a former CEO, with recovery of the funds approved at Council, against the then CEO's recommendation. Contrary to the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996, no written explanation was provided in the Council minutes for this decision. Legal costs alone for pursuing the funds amounted to more than $547,000.
- two matters pursued through the Courts by a former CEO, where the legal costs were considered excessive, as infringement notices had already been paid, or were insignificant. For example, $36,500 in legal costs for an infringement paid and $5,381 in costs to pursue a $60 infringement notice. It is important for all Councils and CEOs to seriously consider legal costs incurred as ratepayers pay for this.
The current CEO has been employed at the Shire since June 2020.
Comments attributed to Local Government Minister David Templeman:
"I welcome the findings of the Inquiry into the Shire of Toodyay, which was commenced due to concerns being repeatedly raised about accountability and transparency.
"Local government plays a critical role in shaping our communities. Council staff and elected members should be aware of their responsibilities, and community members should be assured that the administration and Council are acting in their best interests.
"The Shire has made a number of improvements since the Inquiry was concluded, and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries will continue to work with the Shire to ensure that confidence is completely restored in the community."
Minister's office - 6552 5400