Thursday, February 09, 2006

Council beat-up over parking dispute

Did the administration misuse and abuse their authority?

The article published on the front page of the Age implies some wrong doing over Cr Peter Clarke's intervention on a parking fine dispute attribute.

Liberal councillor tried to quash parking fine for MP's wife - National

There is nothing wrong with a Councillor seeking to have redressed an injustice in the application of a parking fine. The explanation provided by Angela Kotsiras is reasonable and understandable.

I am sure many commuters are caught out from time to time on pressing the wrong button or selecting the wrong parking bay. I know I have on a number of occasions.

Depending on the design of the meter and the circumstances it should be possible for the City of Melbourne to verify any claim.

In respect to Cr Clarke's involvement there is nothing wrong in him seeking to provide representation when requested to do so by an aggrieved person.

Councillor Clarke does not decide on the outcome of any review. It could be claimed that Councillor Clarke may have asserted undue influence but such a claim would be false as Council staff have to deal with this sort of complaint every working day.

What is of concern is how and under what circumstances this information was made available to the Age.

We need to ask was there any bias or political motive behind the leaking of confidential information and was the Council's Governance Department responsible for targeting Cr Clarke.

It is more then likely that this information was deliberately leaked by the Council Governance Department or an aggrieved Council employee as some form of retribution and payback.

Councillor Clark is the only Councillor challenging the City Council administration on a range of issues, asking some of the questions that need to be asked but go unanswered. (There are also some questions that he does not ask but should)

The City Council has a culture of self protection and are sensitive to criticism of public disclosure. Councillor Clarke certainly has ruffled some feathers in Clown Hall and in doing so has made some enemies as a result.

This is not the first time the Council administration have taken such action. I have witnessed members of Council staff lie in a court of law, be it intentionally or unintentionally, to the point where a magistrate came close to having the member of staff charged with giving false evidence.
Their motive to band together and protect their fellow members of staff, ignoring any professional duty or principles of natural justice. It is incumbent on the CEO, David Pitchford, to make sure it is the last time.

The City of Melbourne administration is renowned for this sort of abuse and misuse of Council resources and their authority.

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