22 February 2017
Indigo Shire Council tick of approval in Probity Audit
A probity audit into Indigo Shire Council's Expression of Interest process for the Beechworth Railway Precinct and management of conflicts of interest has concluded it was a fair and transparent process.
The audit report indicates there was no breach of the Local Government Act, the Council Code of Conduct or the Local Government Victoria Conflict of Interest Guide.
Indigo Shire Mayor Cr Jenny O'Connor said the audit report affirmed 'that the EOI process was properly and transparently carried out'.
Indigo CEO Gerry Smith commissioned the audit to provide the Council with an independent view of these issues following concern in the community over the EOI process and potential conflicts of interest between its then Tourism Manager and an external company he was involved in and that company's EOI for the Beechworth Railway Precinct.
The report states that the then Tourism Manager at all times disclosed potential conflicts of interest to Council management and voluntarily moved to part-time work, relinquishing his tourism responsibilities, in October last year when he indicated he was taking up a role as Strategic Projects Manager with the EOI company, ACRE.
"That company, ACRE, was endorsed by Council last year as the preferred EOI submission in accordance with the selection criteria," Cr O'Connor said.
"The staff member subsequently left council in January. The report states clearly that 'where conflicts of interest existed, they were identified, communicated and managed' throughout the staff member's employment."
"The probity audit was commissioned voluntarily by Council to allay any concern in the community over the Council's process. The auditor from Crowe Horwath was recommended to Council by the Municipal Association of Victoria."
"I hope this sets to rest any disquiet on this issue. The community can be assured from this probity report that both the EOI process was conducted correctly and that Indigo Shire Council appropriately managed conflict of interest situations."
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