Thursday, May 30, 2024

City of Melville to respond to governance concerns

City of Melville Council says it will work collaboratively with the Western Australia Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) over governance concerns raised by the Department.

Following a meeting earlier this month, Council says it will soon respond to the Department’s written request that it consider and determine an action plan, and provide a response by Friday, 28 April 2023. 

In a letter to Council, the Department outlined its concerns in relation the City’s governance, including:

• lack of formalised process for dealing with council member behavioural complaints;
• inappropriate questioning of staff by council members during council meetings and at other times;
• inappropriate council member conduct and behaviour toward other council members, and administration staff;
• council members involvement in operational matters;
• number of items for council meetings being deferred by Council;
• inappropriate interactions from members of the community with council members and administration staff;
• appropriateness of council member motions
• increasing costs for legal advice.

“…DLGSC applies a risk based holistic approach in consideration of the factors that indicate a local government’s risk profile. This means that no one factor is determinative,” the DLGSC letter to Council states.

“However, due to the number and nature of the concerns and issues identified at the City… we remain concerned that these issues are adversely impacting the relationships between council members and administration staff, leading to further dysfunction and council decision making that will likely not be in the best interests of the City’s community.

“Accordingly, DLGSC has formed the view that the City and its Council must now
consider and determine an appropriate course of action to ensure that they function
effectively, and provide good government to the district.”

The City and Council are currently working to better understand the Department’s concerns and have requested the Department provide a briefing to support this process, Council said in a statement.

“The City and Council will work collaboratively with the Department, responding to and acting openly in dealing with the governance concerns raised,” said Mayor, George Gear.

“The Council and administration always strive for excellence and are focused on delivering services and outcomes that benefit our residents, ratepayers and local businesses.

“Our successes can be demonstrated through the many outcomes achieved this year and last, as highlighted in our Community Annual Report.”

Council has also set up a dedicated page on its website to publish updates about the process: www.melvillecity.com.au/DLGSC

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