Thursday, February 02, 2006

Register Avoidance

City Council Administration cover-up, contempt, lies, deceit and inefficiencies

The City of Melbourne administration continue their games of lies and deceit.

We are told, although we have not received any official confirmation or word from the Council, that the Council's Travel Register will be published today or tomorrow. Well its not published yet so it must be tomorrow. (It's often said that tomorrow never comes)

For the uninitiated it takes less then 5 minutes to publish the Register. That's right less then Five Minutes. [Alt-file-publish]. Job Done. So why the delay?

The Council's travel register is an electronic white board. There is no record id number and no way of knowing if the data has been altered or items removed. The Council auditors have previous expressed concern about the way the register is managed. They know the problems that exist and have made numerous recommendations that the Council administration continue to ignore . So why go to so much trouble and expense to hide and avoid disclosure. Well the Travel Register, in theory, details the full extent and cost of Staff and Councillor travel. It is required to be maintained by the Local Government regulations and made available for public scrutiny.

The reason they have not published it and don't want it published is that it holds them accountable.

The publication of the register is the responsibility of Linda Weatherspoon, head of the Council's Governance Department and underling Paul O'Brien who does all the data-entry work.

The reason the they want to publish the Travel Register only on a quarterly basis, instead of "as and when it is updated" is because they want to make sure that information they don't want disclosed is not accidently published and accessable to the public. It's a bit like creative accounting, which the council regularly perform, We discovered thousands of dollars of missing, undisclosed accounts last time it was published. The Council administration are not interested in honest, open, transparent goverance, if they were the Travel Register and other public documents would have been up and published by now, but they are not.

Less then five minutes it should take. Less then five minutes but it has taken Linda Weatherspoon and the David Pitchford, Melbourne's CEO, over 12 months at a cost of $10's of thousands of dollars and they are still reluctant and wanting to aviod publication of the Travel Register. Disgraceful , corrupt and a misuse of Council resources .

We will keep you informed. Once it's published we will push for it to be updated as and when it is modified, as opposed to the BS quarterly publication the administration have proposed. We will continue to advocate for the inclusion of an auditable sequential record ID, so as to be reassured that information has not gone missing.

For those who are concerned about at the cost of administration we estimate that the City Council has spent well over $100,000 dollars trying to avoid publication and find constant ways to avoid disclosure and alternative creative accounting methods. Most of it spent by Alison Lyon, Council's former Governance Legal Officer. We were hoping that things would improve now that she has moved on but we are not sure. The Council, sadly, will only change it's culture of deceit and avoidance dragged, kicking and screaming all the way.

Stay turned.

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