Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Singer seeks council funds to sponsor his lack of performance

There is ongoing concern about corporate governance in the City of Melbourne and Councillor expenses.

The following Article by Jen Kelly was published in the Herald Sun

Link to original stopy Herald-Sun Online

GARY Singer is under renewed fire after using his part-time job as Deputy Lord Mayor to score free tickets to events at ratepayers' expense.

Cr Singer attended three events, including a costly arts function in Sydney with his partner, Geoffrey Smith, curator of Australian art at the National Gallery of Victoria, after asking staff to get him a ticket.

The Herald Sun asked Melbourne City Council to provide a list of event tickets the Morwell lawyer had asked council staff to procure for him.

Documents supplied under Freedom of Information laws reveal ratepayers footed the bill for Cr Singer to receive:

ONE $250 ticket for him to the Melbourne Art Fair Awards for the Visual Arts dinner in September at the Art Gallery of NSW.

ONE $75 ticket for him to a May jazz event at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. He is a member of the ACCA Foundation.

Cr Singer also asked council officers to get two free tickets to the Royal Melbourne Show for him and his partner.

Cr Singer said he paid for his own flight to Sydney to attend the awards night with his partner.

He said it was important to attend the events as council's deputy chair of the community and culture committee.
"These are fundraiser events to make sure these not-for-profit organisations continue to exist in the city," Cr Singer said.

He is also criticised for splitting his time between the city and Gippsland.
Cr Singer works as consultant, lawyer and manager at Simon Parsons and Co, a law firm in Morwell.

Town Hall insiders say he spends only two to three days a week in the city office on council work.

In Morwell yesterday, Cr Singer said he was in the city on council business four or five days a week. He is paid $45,000 a year as Deputy Lord Mayor.
Council insiders claim Cr Singer lacks an agenda and shows little interest in fixing problems.

He is also co-director of EQ Cafe/Bar in Southbank, and a solicitor.

The Herald Sun exclusively revealed on Saturday Cr Singer was fined $10,000 last week for financial misconduct after withholding cheques to his own benefit as a law firm partner at Morwell.

He said yesterday that what happened was regrettable, but did not interfere with his council role.

1 comment:

Anthony van der Craats said...

This is not the first time Melbourne City Councillors have been brought into question over Council expenses. The previous Council under the leadership of Cr John So had spent over 1 Million Dollars in Overseas Junkets.

What is of even greater concern is that the Council administration appear to be complicit in a coverup and avoidance of disclosure buy removing the piublication of the Council Travel register without seeking consent or resolution of the elected Council. Publication of the Travel Register last year help identify a number of errors in the Council's accounting system with thousands of dollars undisclosed in relation to Councillor's trips abroad.

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