Mid-Western Council receives ICAC report

GM Brad CAM and the grumpy old bastards

Mid-Western GM Brad Cam was not a “person of interest” in the ICAC investigation, which began with a raid on the Council’s offices and the Mayor’s home in May 2014. This was an investigation affecting our members and which, amongst other things, saw the GM sack two of the directors and the subsequent departure of five of the senior people in the planning and environment area, as if from a sinking ship.

The ICAC has now decided that it will not go to public hearings. Instead, as they are able, they have provided a report to the Council under section 14-2 of the ICAC Act, and the “persons of interest” and it will be considered by the Council in closed session tomorrow. That section also requires that the report be provided to the relevant Minister, in this case Local Government Minister Paul Toole.

Mid-Western Regional Council will meet on Tuesday, 12 July to consider the confidential report, but the Notice placed in the paper by GM Brad Cam says only that the closed meeting is for “Consideration of Governance Matters relating to Council”.

The Mudgee Guardian hasn’t shown much interest in these proceedings and no interest at all in pursuing the unfair sackings, the way that the GM has accounted for the costs of the sackings and the significant legal costs, nor the departure of other staff to safer places but on this occasion the Guardian published that “council will discuss a report from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) at a closed meeting on July 12. General Manager Brad Cam said that the councillors will consider a submission in relation to a potential report under section 14-2 of the ICAC Act.”

A little bit more specific than the obscure public notice.

But the meeting must start in open session before the councillors resolve to close it and the meeting is obliged to consider any submissions that may have been made before they do so. So, we made one and also sent it to all the councillors, the Office of the Minister for Local Government and to the Mudgee Guardian, just so they knew that there were reasons why the meeting should be open to the public and the Council should decide to release the ICAC’s Report.

Communities with councils that are undergoing an ICAC investigation deserve to have the ICAC’s final report published. To do otherwise hides behind an unacceptable cloak of secrecy and a restriction on good governance that only protects the guilty.

And if one or more of the three “persons of interest” is in the clear, why wouldn’t they want it published?

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