Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Counilors To Be Held Accountable

Greater Shepparton City councilors will now be more accountable following new Brumby Government legislation clarifying codes of conduct and conflict of interest within local government. Victorian Local Government Minister, Richard Wynne says the community should expect high standards from local councilors to ensure better representation and strengthened democracy. Mr Wynne also said VCAT would be given wide powers to discipline councillors for serious or gross misconduct. He said VCAT would have the ability to disqualify a councillor for up to four years, suspend one for up to six months, or declare him/her ineligible to be mayor for up to four years. “Definitions of conflict of interest have been revised to apply to gifts and election donations received from a person with a direct interest, as well as situations where a member of a councillor’s family has an interest,” Mr Wynne said. “In addition to being excluded from voting on issues where there is a conflict of interest, councillors will also be excluded from participating in debate and the decision on those issues at council meetings, committee meetings and councillor briefings,” he said. “Conflict of interest will also be extended to council staff, who will be prohibited from exercising any delegated power or function of the council, if they have a conflict of interest.” This new legislation should sit uneasy amongst some wayward local councilors who now must attempt to follow strict guideline to behave properly in the community. Local councilors can be the most dodgy and ego driven politicians around, so I am sure many of us will be pleased with these new measures.

No comments: