Glen Eira ratepayers continue to pay for councillors’ poor behaviour

GLEN Eira ratepayers have been slugged $18,000 for a report into councillor infighting but its findings will not be released publicly.

Council has now spent at least $44,000 to solve rumblings between councillors during the current four-year term.

Glen Eira mayor Neil Pilling said the report was discussed between councillors last night but he has refused to release it publicly.In line with the report’s recommendations a three-councillor panel will be set up to manage councillor conflict and infighting.

“Council has resolved to set up a reference group of three councillors to manage issues between councillors to prevent escalation of and to deal with unacceptable behaviour,” Cr Pilling said.

“A small number of incidents have clearly not adhered to the standards of conduct to be expected of public officials.”

In May, Frances O’Brien QC was called in to investigate the increasingly unworkable relationship between councillors Jamie Hyams and Oscar Lobo.

Ms O’Brien was called in after those councillors nearly came to blows at a citizenship ceremony in April at the Glen Eira Town Hall.

Cr Hyams has admitted calling Cr Lobo a “f**kwit” at the ceremony saying he was provoked. Cr Lobo denies that version of events.

Other incidents which have also come under investigation include:

— Cr Lobo’s allegedly anti-Semitic slur at a December 2015 council meeting.

— A 2010 email councillor Michael Lipshutz sent to Cr Lobo asking him if he had worked for a bank linked to terrorists.

“As these behaviours were not conducive to the proper functioning and good governance of the

council, advice was sought from Ms O’Brien on how best to achieve the standards of conduct expected from all councillors,” Cr Pilling said.

chad.vanestrop@news.com.au

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-south/glen-eira-ratepayers-continue-to-pay-for-councillors-poor-behaviour/news-story/19f8995790ec43572575a7b610219134

COMMENT

The failure to release the report is unacceptable. When public monies are used to sort out the antics of councillors, then the public has a right to know the findings. Not for the first time has this council been embroiled in expensive legal suits. There has also been 3 formal Municipal Inspectorate investigations, Ombudsman’s investigations, plus heaven knows how many ‘unofficial’ investigations.

We can only speculate that since this latest report will not become public that can only mean that the findings were not ‘complimentary’ to the ruling faction – ie Lipshutz, Hyams, Esakoff, et.al. We venture the opinion, that if O’Brien did find Lobo ‘guilty’ of ‘racism’ or other misdemeanors, then the report would be published quick smart. If these speculations are entirely wrong, then they can be corrected via the publication of the report!

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