Council looks to the future following CEO report: Issued 4 July 2012
MEDIA RELEASE: 4 July 2012
The City of Casey has considered the findings of an independent investigation into Council’s handling of a previously settled VCAT discrimination matter involving its Chief Executive Officer Mr Mike Tyler.
On 10 April 2012, Council resolved to request the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) to nominate an appropriately experienced person to investigate the process undertaken by Council’s executive officers and the Council in relation to civil action brought against the Chief Executive Officer and the City of Casey.
City of Casey Mayor Cr Sam Aziz welcomed the release of the investigator’s report, which clears Council, but identifies a single potential issue of non-compliance which will now be referred to the Local Government Inspectorate for resolution.
‘Transparency and accountability is of the utmost importance to Council, and that was the impetus for engaging an independent investigator recommended by the MAV, while providing a further independent process to consider the matter in a timely manner,’ said Cr Aziz.
‘The investigator has undertaken a very thorough and transparent investigation.’
The investigator found that:
- The CEO did not seek to influence the officers and he delegated authority to manage thecomplaint and did not become inappropriately involved
- The officers who managed the handling of the complaint followed proper processes
- It was appropriate for the matter to be settled, and the manner in which it was settled was appropriate, and such settlements are typically confidential
- The CEO complied with the requirement that the Mayor be advised of the complaint
- The CEO did not recognise that he had a conflict of interest and therefore did not report this to the first Council meeting after becoming aware of such a conflict.
The Mayor moved that the report be released in its entirety to further reassure public confidence in Council’s processes.
‘The City of Casey is a highly functioning Council which delivers for its community – proof of this is that recently we unanimously adopted the 2012/2013 budget featuring a $211m operating budget and $57.6m capital works program,’ said Cr Aziz.
‘Council cannot continue to be destabilised by ongoing attacks on its CEO. This investigation goes a long way to refute the myths regarding Council’s handling of this matter and deal with them in a rigorous, transparent fashion.’
The Mayor said, ‘I am delighted that Cr Bradford, who has been the main instigator calling for the sacking of our CEO before a proper process had taken place, has now seen the light and seconded my extensive motion to deal with the matter through this report. I only wish he had done this at the outset, which would have spared the City of Casey all the unfair reputational damage that has occurred.
‘Every Councillor has a responsibility to protect the interest of ratepayers and the Council that represents them. Moving a motion to sack our CEO without a proper process may have opened Council to the risk of an unfair dismissal law suit. This may have been theatrical at the time, but it is very irresponsible governance, and a politically motivated knee-jerk reaction. I will never allow our ratepayers to be exposed to such risks under my watch.’
On 3 April 2012, Council also resolved to ask the Auditor General and Victorian Ombudsman to investigate the process undertaken by Council’s executive officers and the Council in relation to the action brought against the City of Casey and the CEO.
The Auditor General and the State Ombudsman have both declined Council’s request to investigate this matter.
The Mayor concluded, ‘These responses by the Auditor General and the Ombudsman validate Council’s decision to appoint an independent investigator to deal with the matter once and for all. ‘The City of Casey can now move forward and continue to deliver outstanding outcomes to the community.’
At its meeting of 3 July 2012, Council resolved:
- That this report and resolution, and the investigation report, be made public.
- That the Mayor sends this report and resolution, and the investigation report, to the Local Government Inspectorate for their consideration and action.
- That the Councillor Code of Conduct be amended to mandate for the Mayor and /or any other Councillor to report to Council immediately at the next available Council meeting if they become aware of a conflict of interest within the meaning of the Local Government Act in relation to the CEO, which has not been disclosed.
- That the Mayor sends this report and resolution, and the investigation report, to the Hon Jeanette Powell, Minister for Local Government.
- That this report and resolution, and the investigation report, be sent to the Audit and Ethics Committee.
- That Council is notified at the next available Council meeting following receipt of any information that the Local Government Inspectorate provides in relation to this matter.