Monday, December 24, 2007

let the Hunt begin

Friday's closing date for head design me a job City

Last Friday was the closing date for applications of Melbourne CEO Designer me a job City.

It is understood the a few "want to be" In-house applicants have put their name in the hat hoping that their name will be the one chosen to feather the bed of their colleagues.

Current acting CEO Geoff Lawler would have to be one of the most unsuccessful choices to make, his approach to adopting Melbourne's Strategic Plan, a con game of pin the tail on the strategy, would have to be remembered as one of the most stupid ill-considered and poorly executed exercises in strategic planning ever on record.

Lawless's idea of Strategic goal setting was to ask selected participants to place up to five issues they considered important on a white board and from the placement and content pin together a Strategic plan that misrepresented the true facts and concerns raised, but he got away with it. Lawless may have a chance as he has been the compliant force behind Melbourne's ill-fated push for a car-less city. Something small retail business in Melbourne dread. Large Retails stores have already deserted the city center in favour of the car frinedly suburban shopping centers. Lawless stagegy at work.

Another in-house applicant is Scott Chapman. Scott is the most travelled of the City Directors he was the one that come up with the idea of a world shopping Spree tour for Council staff to check out the competition. Whilst Scott comes with numerous appraisals the question is can he stand alone and say no to the "design me a better job" senior staff who are hungry for a better life style paid for by the ratepayers of Melbourne.

It is understood that Linda "It's not accounted until it is acquitted " Weatherston is looking for a new job. She has the unfortunate position in that she is the only non male gender in the senior management design team. But she is no Elizabeth Proust and rumour has it she is looking for a job in with one of the international NGO aid agencies. Best of luck, Melbourne will be the better for the change of career.

Rob Adams is another name that has been mooted around but again Rob's credibility took a major blow back in the 1990's when Bamboo Rob compromised his integrity and bowed down under pressure and supported the disastrous ill-considered relocation of Melbourne's Museum from the City Centre to the outskirts. Like Denton Cork and Marshal Robs tenure needs serious review. It is time Melbourne adopted a new design guru and someone that has not been compromised to the extent Rob has. The other factor that rules Rob out is that he really does not have the commercial business skills required for the top job so he not a real contender.

The City Council is best once again looking outside of the City, finding someone that is not tainted by the in-house "design me a job crowd" someone that can provide professional guidance and management of a major capital city.

Melbourne has not had much luck in appointing the best of the best since Elizabeth Proust and Andy Friend vacated the job. The rot set in under former Geelong CEO Michael Malouf. The Council lost all integrity and professionalism, staff numbers went thorough the roof as the council embarked on empire building and the sought of corruption and lack of professionalism that creeps in when staff begin to lose perspective and professional standards decline. Without any doubt Malouf's reign of terror was the seed of destruction and decline of Melbourne golden age of administrators. It has been all down hill since then.

Will John So get it right the second time around.

John is once again looking to find a replacement CEO for the City. Dissapointed Applicants for the top job can always rely on the fact that the process of head hunting will inevitably involve a breach of confidentiality as information on the selection process and applicants is widely discussed around the corridors and coffee spots where staff so often spend most of their time chatting was opposed to doing their job. Any disappointed applicant can rest assured that they can take legal action against the City Council who will inevitably settle out of court for an undisclosed sum of money as opposed to face a possible court ruling against the City Council and the need to payout even more in compensation. (Roumours have ot that a concerened applcant recioved a hefty sum of monye in compendation for the Council's head hunting skills or lack there of)

The problem with the Council's selection process is that staff are required to provide secretarial support for the selection committee and inevitable those staff will report back to their boss the outcomes of deliberations. After all it is in the interest of the secretarial staff to keep their boss happy and accustomed to the designer job life style they are use to.

A more professional approach would be to contract out the secretarial support to the head hunting agency thus placing all responsibility for confidentiality out of reach of the City administration.

Christmas is renowned for the time when administration make the worst of the worst decisions.

A time when the community's attention span is at its lowest. Having made a decision the administration will inevitably either try and forget it or will dutifully implement the resolution on their return in the new year when hopefully Melbourne will make the right choice and fid someone worthy of the $300.000 plus bonuses salary.

Happy Christmas

Saturday, November 17, 2007

CEO pitches a curve ball on the eve of his departure

David Pitchford, Melbourne's soon to depart CEO in an interview reported in the Age Newspaper has made some rather interesting comments. The statements raise more questions and could possible give some insight into why he did not make the grad.

Pitchford had overseen the expansion of the City Council at an unprecedented rate. His out of control unfettered "design me a job" benefits he offered his senior team had left the City facing near bankruptcy. It was not until the Council called in a team of experts management consultants (At an addition cost to the CEO's $350,000 per year plus benefits remuneration) that the Council began to face reality.

Melbourne has only had three really good Ceos in recent memory. John Young, Elizabeth Proust and Andy Friend. Each person had a different approach and style to governance.

The Council went down hill fast following the appointment of Micheal Malouf (Who most people have forgotten already). It was under Malouf that governance standards declined dramatically and corruption began to set in. The Council no longer maintained a "non-political" professional management. Malouf's contribution aided and abetted by Alison Lyons lead to the dismissal of the elected City Council who was held out as the escape goat for poor governance whilst Maklouf and the administration escaped blame or accountability. Sure there were just reasons to dismiss the City Council at the time but the situation was made worst by a CEO who was out of his depth.

Part of the solution introduced by the then Minister (He did not last long) Bob Cameron was the introduction of a directly elected Lord Mayor. (On what basis the minister made this decision is difficult to determine as the review hearing was held behind closed doors and copies of submissions received where never published) Exactly who supported the idea is unknown but what is clear is that the directly elected Lord Mayor is part of the problem and not the solution

The direct election of a popular Lord Mayor has failed to deliver good governance and the elected Council is worst off as a result. There are many arguments against the notion of a directly elected Lord Mayor which I will not go into here suffice to say that the Lord Mayor and chairman of the Council must maintain the confidence and support of the elected Council.

A directly elected Mayor is only held accountable once every four years where an appointed Mayor is held accountable daily by the elected Council.

"Mr Pitchford believes Local Government Minister Dick Wynne should review the City of Melbourne Act after next year's council elections, to evaluate whether the system of a popularly elected lord mayor has worked."

What was interesting in then Pitchford swan song was his request for the current Local Government Minister Dick Wynn (Former City of Melbourne Lord Mayor) for the Minister to review the direct election model.

The question should be why wait until the newly elected council is elected. Surely any review should be made prior to the 2008 election?

The City of Melbourne is due for a representation review but sadly the City is excluded from the process of review as applies to all other Municipalities in Victoria.

The State Government should undertake a comprehensive review of the City of Melbourne
(Including its external boundaries) early in the new year. Only then will we begin to address the real structural flaws that exist in the management of the City Council.

With the Federal Election soon out of the way NOW is the time to put the review in place and act before the November 2008 Municipal elections.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pitchford bites the dust and departs Melbourne

Embattled Chief Executive David Pitchford has called it quits. He has jump ship before being forced to resign.

David Pitchford, one of Australia over paid top executives whose skills do not match his remuneration, has been looking around for a new job ever since the City of Melbourne refused to extend his contract for the full term.

David, king of the designer me a job brigade, will be remembered for the blow-0ut in council expenditure and the rebuilding of the Council top heavy staff structure at Melbourne which under John So has seen Melbourne face a bleak future and possibly bankruptcy.

Both David Pitchford and John So failed to address the staffing crisis at Melbourne. The Council still remains top-heavy with most senior managers having closed ranks and held on to their position.


Along with Alison Lyons, Pitchford was responsible for the corruption scandal that hit Melbourne with the Traffic Jam Affair which resulted in the State Ombudsman Department doing a raid on the City Offices following the Council's attempt to cover-up and their refusal to co-operate over their investigation of the Council's parking fine extortion racket designed to fund the Council's Staff's empire. Lyons who was the "Brains behind the councils legal avoidance representation, was the first to go and now Pitchford has made his final farewells.

The Council has one year left of its fixed four-year term of office. And for the second time this term will go through the CEO selection procedures.

Melbourne City Council chief executive David Pitchford to quit
Mary Bolling - Herald Sun reports

MELBOURNE City Council's top bureaucrat will announce his resignation today, at a press conference at Melbourne Town Hall.

Council chief executive David Pitchford will step down after four years in the role – and only months after being reappointed to the role by councilors.

Lord Mayor John So will not be at the press conference, and it is understood Mr Pitchford will take on a new role offshore.

Mr Pitchford was controversially appointed to the top council officer job in 2003.

It was later revealed he was not the number one candidate.

The bureaucrat came to council after terminating his contract as the Melbourne Commonwealth Games organising committee deputy CEO.

Earlier this year, Mr Pitchford was at the centre of a storm as a critical report recommended the big-spending council cut $4 million from the annual budget.

The report sparked a round of sackings at Town Hall.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Melbourne's Car City Council. Anti Car - Anti Bike

The Melbourne City Council's proposal to seek to fine motorcyclists for parking on the foot path is another example of the City Council's transport policy out of wack with reality.
The City Council would serve Melbourne and the environment better if it adopted a more Motorcycle friendly policy.  When we talk about Motorcycles we are not just taking about Harley Davidsons and the Leather and Chains. most motorcyclists that visit the city are motor scooters and bikes less then 350 cc.
The City Council's transport policy ignores the needs and requirements of motorcycle and scooter riders as a preferred alternative to the Car,
The City Council does nothing to assist and encourage motorbikes as a preferred alternative means of transport. Bus and bicycle lanes abound the Cities arterial roads may often are underutilise as cyclests prefer to use less congested pathways.  The bicycle and bus lanes could be better designed to facilitate and allow small motorcycles and scooters to share the space. More often then not the city's planners and engineers ignore or are oblivious to the the needs of motorcyclists.
The only benefit and support given to motorcyclists is the advantage of being able to park their bikes on the side of the of foot path, Out of the way from pedestrians.    they do not demand much and you do not see them campigining for thor rightful share of road funding.  the cost of motorcyle regsitration is excessive.
The recent push by the City Council to seek to fine motorcyclists and prevent them from taking advantage of their ability to park freely in the city is now under attack.
Motor cyclists have decided they will fight back.
If the council continues to pursue this policy motorcyclist Riders association has flagged that they will hit back at the stupidity of the council's policy and will embark on a campaign of taking up space ear marked for Cars.  if this happens then the city will be under siege and traffic and commerce will come to a halt. Couriers and Business will be severely disadvantage.
The question is what harm does the motorcycles really create and what is the council planning to do to encourage and assit motorcycles as a viable alternative means of transport. 
Or is it the Council policy and hidden agenda to just allow bicyclists and the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor's Limos along with the City Council's managers who rights of free parking (Do they pay fringe benefits) the right to access the City.
The Council would be better off providing better services and support for motorcyclists then seeking to bring the city to a halt.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

So's vote is in the post

John So's day of Shame

John So has used his numbers to force the City of Melbourne into holding it's election next year by postal vote.

The 2004 postal vote Election cost the City of Melbourne in excess of 1.2 Million dollars and critics of John So's proposal question the integrity of the postal voting system with allegation that the system is wide open to abuse and fraud.

Under the current provisions of the Local Government Act the City Council must determine if the election is be to held by postal or attendance voting.

The Local Government Act should be changed to allow for a combination of attendance and postal voting with Postal votes automatic being issued to those who do not resident within the city and the option of attendance voting available to inner city residents.

John So sat in the council chamber stoned faced and refused to outline on what basis he decided to overturn the committee recommendation amidst calls of Shame Shame Shame from the public gallery.

Mayor votes to go postal despite critics
The Age September 26, 2007

A backlash is building against Lord Mayor John So among a coalition of inner-city resident groups that have vowed to campaign against him.

The pledge from 33 resident groups followed a decision by Cr So last night to use his numbers on the Melbourne City Council to dump a push for attendance voting at council elections - a system that might have hurt his chances of re-election.

To cries of "Shame! Shame!" from the public galleries, the Lord Mayor used his vote to back postal voting.

Postal voting favours cashed-up candidates like Cr So, a wealthy restaurateur who has spent more than $300,000 on his two successful mayoral campaigns in 2001 and 2004.

Candidates need money to spend on expensive mail-outs. Postal voting also encourages the expensive practice of setting up large teams of dummy candidates - as Cr So did in 2004.

The Lord Mayor refused to speak on the issue last night.

Since 1996, Melbourne City Council has conducted elections by post.

Resident groups pledged to campaign against the Lord Mayor.

"If John So wants to continue the (current) system, the voters of the electorate will need to take their campaign for change out to the full electorate and any other areas of influence," said Melbourne Business Council chairman Peter Nicoll.

Cr So sat stone-faced while councillors poured scorn on him.

Liberal Party councillor Fiona Snedden accused him of not having the courage to tell the council chamber why he preferred postal voting.

"In three months of debate (on this) I have not heard you speak once about why you prefer postal voting. Tell us why!" she yelled.

Victoria's 79 councils will go to the polls on Saturday, November 29, 2008, the first time all councils will vote on the same day. Most will use postal voting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Melbourne's best and fairest

trade versus heritage

One day in September the best and fairest.

Spring is a special time and the bigmen fly in Melbourne. The Agriculture and Horticulture Show heralds the coming summer caped of by the Spring Racing Carnival.

How things have changed.

Show bags are not longer free and the content is not what they use to be.

Looking back Melbourne also is certainly not what it use to be. Much of its traditions and heritage has changed, not necessary for the better. Thank god we still have the footy and the Brownlow, even if a Victorian team is no longer a certain winner it is good to know that the Grand is still held in Melbourne.

One of Melbourne's greatest heritage assets is under threat. The Carlton Gardens, which forms part of Melbourne's and Australia's only World Heritage Building site is once again under threat of over-development and miss-use. Melbourne's Museum should never have been built on this site. It most certainly has compromised the significance and integrity of this World Heritage site.
Likewise the Melbourne Flower show is a serious threat to the well being and integrity of the Carlton Gardens, gardens that have been under severe biological and horticultural pressure as a result of the long period of draught. The Garden and Flower show is enjoyed by many and according to the State Government attracts 100,000 visitors. Whilst the setting is transformed and provides a picturesque traditional backdrop the Garden show the event is in reality nothing more then a trade show.

It's relocation to another site would not harm the event but may save the gardens.

Sadly the show can not be located at the new exhibition buildings complex. "Jeff's Shed" was another disaster in Melbourne's planning and like the Museum and the Casino and Federation Square, in reality, another one of those past mistakes that continues to add to the lack of Melbourne's success. For some unknown reason the Garden and Flower show cannot be re-located to the Agriculture and horticulture showgrounds. (If only the exhibition center was relocated to that site. The State Government in its lack of wisdom has decided that the Flower show is more important then the gardens itself.

The Government is not responsible for the drought but it is responsible for the management of the effects of the draught

What is not as well known is that it was John Brumby that advanced the Royal Exhibition Building's nomination for World Heritage.

At the time John was supportive of the local community, academics, town planners, the City Council and the local community, all who opposed the relocation of the Museum to this world heritage listed site. John should think once again about his decision to support the Flower show ahead of Melbourne's only World Heritage site. Perhaps the show should be relocated on a rotating basis with the Alexander Gardens or better still the show grounds where it should have been in the first place.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Power and the Council and the State

Melbourne Car Free City - All except John So and his deputy who maintain a Council funded Limo

What about John and Singers Limo... Will they be kept in the garage on Melbourne Car Free city day? What about deliveries and emergency vehicles?

Power and the Council and the State

Who controls Melbourne?

Source: The Age: Clay Lucas

Melbourne City Council has been accused of lacking a long-term vision and being a pawn of the State Government and big business. Clay Lucas reports.
IN THE lead-up to the debate at Melbourne City Council last week over whether the city should stage a car-free day, one councillor told The Age they were happy to support the project.

"But that doesn’t mean it’ll happen," the councillor said. "Brumby will stomp on this thing by the end of the week."

It was a cynical reading of modern Victorian politics. But, as it turned out, not cynical enough.

It didn’t take Premier John Brumby to the end of the week to stomp on the idea of five young, enthusiastic and idealistic women. It took 12 hours.

Amid squeals of fury from motoring, business and trader groups, Brumby stepped in to crush the idea. "This is just short-term populism," he told ABC Radio. "It’s a stunt. It’s not going to change anything."

Alicia Webb, one of the environmentalists who put forward the car-free idea, was thrilled when the council agreed to give it in-principle support.

"The council (were) so willing to listen to the ideas of young people," says Webb.

But within hours, the group’s celebrations had turned into a media maelstrom. Webb says it was disappointing that the Premier rejected the plan without even hearing them out.

"The State Government criticised the concept before they even heard any of the details," she says.

That the project was blocked should not have come as a surprise in car-obsessed Melbourne.

Three months earlier, in April, Roads Minister Tim Pallas slapped down months of work by Melbourne City Council’s transport planners, who had proposed installing new "Copenhagen-style" bike lanes on St Kilda Road.

In one call from Pallas to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, the plan was snuffed out, by a State Government desperate to not appear anti-car — despite all its sustainability spin.

For David Dunstan, from Monash University’s National Centre for Australian Studies, the car-free day and the bike lanes were more than just one-off proposals.

"They were about inspiring the public. They were both very imaginative and sensible ideas, and both were immediately stomped on by the State Government," he says.

Dunstan, who worked in the Cain government’s planning ministry in the 1980s, said a 1985 event he had helped organise — paving Swanston Street with grass, to capture city users’ imaginations over a plan to make the street car-free — would have been ridiculed by today’s State Government as loony.

"Anything original the council comes up with, Spring Street will immediately say no to," he says. "It is a sign of the profound contempt for local government from both sides of politics."

But it is also about something more obvious: power, and who controls central Melbourne. That was made blindingly obvious in January, after the council put forward an innovative idea to concentrate huge outdoor billboards in three key city sites, mimicking London’s Piccadilly Circus or New York City’s Times Square.

The council wanted to restrict the proliferation of "supersize" billboards, which they believed were overpowering the city’s heritage streets. But a word in the State Government’s ear from the powerful outdoor advertising lobby and the plan was overridden, subsumed in a statewide review of outdoor advertising laws by Planning Minister Justin Madden.

Rarely, if ever, is more than a whimper of protest heard from Lord Mayor John So when the State Government muscles in on council plans. "John will choose razzamatazz over usefulness every time," says Greens councillor Fraser Brindley, who brought the car-free plan to the council.

"He makes every decision in the frame of a photo shoot."

Last week So refused to back the car-free day, saying he supported it in spirit only. He did not publicly take on Pallas over the St Kilda Road bike lanes. Nor did he protest when the council’s advertising review was made redundant.

For Dunstan, the need to reform the City of Melbourne Act — last reviewed in 2001 — is obvious. "The reason why London Mayor Ken Livingstone has been able to achieve something is autonomy," says Dunstan. "Melbourne City Council has no effective power."

At a council committee meeting on Tuesday (that So did not attend), councillors voted to write to Local Government Minister Dick Wynne asking him to review the Act.

Ken Livingstone provides an excellent template for what can be achieved when a government is prepared to give real power to local government.

"Red Ken" was elected in 2000, after Tony Blair reinstated the Greater London Authority (Margaret Thatcher had abolished its predecessor, the Greater London Council, in the 1980s). Blair handed the authority executive powers over transport, emergency services and planning.

Seven years later, Livingstone remains mayor. And while his popularity is up for debate, his power is not.

Since 2000, Livingstone has introduced a congestion charge to keep cars out of London’s city centre, and used the revenue to improve London’s buses. He has fought hard against Gordon Brown’s privatisation of the London Underground, helped win London the 2012 Olympics and introduced a plan to put 50 per cent of affordable housing in all new projects.

Back in Melbourne, such revolutionary plans are seldom considered by the city council, partly because under a system set up by the Kennett government in the 1990s and continued under Labor, its voting system is gerrymandered to business.

Businesses registered within Melbourne City Council’s areas get two votes, while residents get just one vote.

THE pro-business candidates that are elected, such as John So, who was returned on a platform of keeping city rates low, are reluctant to rock the boat for the big end of town.

The situation is unlikely to change at next year’s council elections. So has already indicated he will run again. Such is the cost of running a lord mayoral campaign that several prospective candidates have already told The Age they will not even consider running against him.

In 2001, So spent at least $120,000 to get elected. In the most recent 2004 poll, insiders say he spent upwards of $200,000.

Critics of the current system of election at the city council complain that it stops candidates with big ideas running. One critic is John Young, a former Melbourne town clerk who spent 30 years working for the council finishing in 1994.

Since April, Melbourne City Council has been touting its Future Melbourne strategy as the source of new ideas for the city. The plan, a partnership between the council and Melbourne University, aims to come up with new ideas for the city, despite the council’s biggest idea — support for a proposed tollway tunnel linking the Eastern Freeway with the western suburbs — already being backed by both So and senior council bureaucrats.

But Young questions whether Future Melbourne is really the vision the city needs. New ideas for the city’s future should come from elected councillors, he says.

"Where is the vision coming from? I’m not sure it should be coming from a bunch of Parkville academics," says Young.

One Parkville academic, Melbourne University’s Paul Mees — who is not involved in the Future Melbourne project — argues that the most important part of coming up with ideas for the city is being a passionate advocate for them.

Instead, he says, the current council serves one purpose for the State Government: compliance. It never makes trouble, says Mees, and backs the State Government on big projects such as road tunnels, freeway extensions and new car parks.

"In all of the world’s cities where things have gone well, the push has come from the central city council.

That is never going to happen under the system we have now," says Mees.

But Chris James, a spokesman for the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says the council does not need reforms, and that the changes put in place in 2001 have worked well.

The stability of the council has given business stability and been a force for good in the city, he says. And it has vastly improved on the days of old, when constant sniping reduced its ability to function well.

But others believe the council’s high watermark as an agent for change was the 1980s; it saw the first woman lord mayor (Lecki Ord), the first avowed conservationist lord mayor (Trevor Huggard) and vibrant public debate about Melbourne’s future.

The council wrote the massively influential 1984 Strategy Plan, which laid out a blueprint to reinvigorate inner Melbourne. It worked hard to relax fire regulations and other red tape so that artists could work in the city and those keen to live in the CBD could do so.

Then, in 1993, the Kennett government gutted the council, undermining the likelihood of dynamic resident activists — such as Huggard — winning seats again.

For Dunstan, there is little chance the Brumby Government will reform the city council to give it real teeth.

"The Labor Party has walked away from City of Melbourne politics. It is part of its deal with the big end of town, and it has meant handing over the city to the people who profi t the most from it: the property managers. And they are troglodytes ... who do not believe in local democracy."

Other critics say it is crucial that planning powers are returned to the city council if it is to regain its importance in the public policy arena.

In 1980, Melbourne City Council was stripped of its planning powers on all applications bigger than 25,000 square metres. They automatically go to the State Government.

It is a stark comparison to Brisbane, where all the major parties run tickets and the 26-member council divides into government and opposition.

Councillors are paid the same as state backbenchers. The council in Brisbane (which covers a far larger area than Melbourne City Council) runs public transport. Additionally, the council has authority over large planning projects.

Dick Wynne is not keen on changing the City of Melbourne Act. "We have no plans to review (it)," the minister said through a spokesman. And this means keeping the status quo, and the likelihood that, should he run again, So will be re-elected in November 2008.

Privately, Wynne and the State Government are happy to have a Lord Mayor like So. The Liberal Party, too, is happy enough; it has no plan to reform the council should it win power in Victoria.

According to Dunstan, it is unsurprising both parties support the current system, or So. "He is exactly the person both sides of politics wants."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Secret Review

for Council's Eyes only

Melbourne City Council, true to form, held its own internal review of its representative model, conveniently forgetting that it is the State Government that really makes all the decisions and that the only real issue under Council's control is whether or not to have postal or attendance voting.

The City Council called for submission and looked like it was doing the right thing, but was it. The City of Melbourne did not published copies of the submissions it had received, in fact most of the discussion was once again held behind closed doors at the all illegal Councillor briefing sessions. The meeting they have when they are not having a meeting.

In reading the minutes of last nights Finance and Governance Committee meetings the City Committee has recommended that the City of Melbourne formally request the State Government to include the City of Melbourne in its Local Government representation review and that the review also consider issues related to external boundaries.

The motion was passed four to three with John So's (Do nothing) team voting against the motion.

It would appear that John does not want a representation review (You never know what it might come up with) The best way to silence your critics is to not give them a voice or opportunity to be heard.

The State Government is the proper authority to undertake the review, independent form the Council itself. The Councill's review was nothing but a joke and the administration's failure to published the submissions it received is another example of the Council trying to keep issues under wraps. The City has wasted time and money in the process.

The referral motion to the State Government will now go to the full City Council meeting scheduled in two weeks time. Odds are that John So will veto the motion and deny ratepayers and residents the review that the State Government should have had in the first place.

It is understood that the responsible Minister, Dick Wynn, would like to see a review but will only do so on the initiative and invitation of the City Council.

Will So do the right thing and support the review motion so that a review can be undertaken before next years Municipal elections or will John So once again avoid the tough questions and deny Melbourne the right of an independent public review, representaion and boundaries included? And more imprortant why is teh council limiting teh review of External boundaroes to Kensigton? Does not carlton also deserve the right to be re-united as does South Yarra and other neighbouring inner-metropolitan neighbourhoods.

Below copy of Motion passed by the City Council's Finance and Governance Committee.

The motion was put and carried with the Chair Cr Shanahan and Councillors Brindley, Clarke and Seddon voting
in favour of the motion and the Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer and Councillors Jeter and Wilson voting against
the motion.
The motion in its entirety reads:
1. That the Finance and Governance Committee recommend Council:
1.1. determine to undertake attendance voting for the 2008 Council Elections consistent
with state and commonwealth government practices (postal voting entitlements);
1.2. approach the State Government in relation to:
1.2.1. its published timetable for independent reviews of electoral structures of
Councils in Victoria currently excludes the City of Melbourne;
1.2.2. since the implementation of the City of Melbourne Act 2001, no review of the
structure of Council has been undertaken to ensure it meets the needs and
expectations of constituents of a dynamic and changing capital city;
1.2.3. the outcome community consultative processes instigated by Council on the
issues of electoral processes and local area representation;
1.3. write to the Minister for Local Government, in light of 1.2.1 to 1.2.3 above, to:
1.3.1. request that the City of Melbourne be included in the State Government’s
current review of all municipalities and provide advice in relation to
1.3.2. request that the State Government conduct an external review in line with the
Local Government Act 1989 and publicly declare results by March 2008;
1.3.3. request that the reassessment also include a review of the representative
model, inclusion of Docklands and external boundaries; and
1.3.4. inform on community feedback of City of Melbourne consultative processes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

So's Vision splendid undeclared

Will he or wont he seek a third term

The glamour and public appeal of John So's populist Mayor has come under serious scrutiny in recent weeks with revelations that Our Worlds most popular Lord Mayor is unable to manage the business affairs of the council.

John So only survived a vote of confidence in his leadership earlier this year by use of his casting vote. The Ernst and Young report released in June espoused the truth and facts behind John So's leadership. If Melbourne continues to head in teh direction John So was heading the City of Melbourne would be bankrupt within 10 years.

Under John So there has been uncontrolled expansion in teh Councils bureaucracy with senior officers designing their own jobs to saute thicare life style. Staff cuts were inevitable but as we found out this week Senior management will not bear the brunt of the review as senior management close ranks to protect their life-style designer jobs.

The Trade Union movement last week joined a growing chorus of discontent in the Council's administration calling on the State Government to consider appointing administrators to oversee the administration of the City Council.

John So has failed to deliver where it counts most. his undeclared vision for Melbourne is undefined.

The Age today reports that John So will be seeking a third term as Melbourne Lord Mayor but as yet So is not prepared to rule himself in or out. he says he needs a third term to complete his vision for Melbourne. But what exactly is his vision.

Under john So we have seen unparalled expenditure and a serious decrease in teh councils working capital ratio.

Could his vision be a City bankrupt both financially and morally?

Mayor first declares he'll run, now not So sure
Clay Lucas August 16, 2007

JOHN So confirmed for the first time yesterday that he would seek a third term as Melbourne's Lord Mayor.

"I'm running," he told The Age — twice — after he mapped out his vision for Melbourne.

But two hours later, in classic So style, the Lord Mayor rang back to say he was no longer certain. He would, he said, only make an iron-clad commitment to run six months before Melbourne City Council's poll late next year.

The council, along with all of Victoria's 79 councils, will go to the polls on the final Saturday in November next year.

Cr So was last year voted the world's most popular mayor in an Internet poll. At the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, he received more cheers than the Queen or Prime Minister John Howard.

However, many who work closely with the Lord Mayor find his lack of certainty about many key city issues — including his own future — infuriating.

While the Lord Mayor's popularity was a phenomenon in 2006, this year has not been as kind to him.

He has been repeatedly called into question over behind-the-scenes deals to promote himself, including personally guaranteeing a $100,000 grant to the Grand Prix Corporation for a Ferrari event in Lygon Street.

He also directed council officers to spend almost $500,000 extra on Christmas decorations, without consulting councillors.

Cr So will today meet both Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd and Mr Howard to seek federal funding for key city projects.

Yesterday he told The Age it was important he was re-elected next year so he could complete his vision for Melbourne.

He nominated key city projects as:

■ Decking over the Flinders Street rail yards to create a new pedestrian link to the Yarra.

■ Better connecting the western suburbs to the city by turning Footscray Road into another grand boulevard.

■ Making Melbourne one of the world's great cycling cities.

■ Reducing tram congestion in Swanston Street.

In June this year, Docklands came under the control of Melbourne City Council. Cr So said it was crucial the new suburb was completely integrated into the city grid.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Melbourne's Most Travelled Revelled

We provide the statistical summary breakdown that the Council tries to avoid to disclose

We have compiled and dissected Melbourne Travel Register to produce the most recent compilation of Melbourne City Council's Travel register.  the Information that thew Council does not want you to know.
1 December 2004 to 30 June 2007
The most travelled and biggest spenders in order of Total costs
(Above $10,000)
Name Total Cost No of Days No of Trips  Average Cost/Day 
Scott Chapman $59,564.53 69 12  $   863.25
Geoff Lawler $58,113.77 56 10  $1,037.75
David Pitchford $48,718.51 61 16  $   798.66
John So  $45,171.05 43 11  $1,050.49
Gary Singer $36,563.46 26 4  $1,406.29
Kevin Louey $26,915.66 28 7  $   961.27
Peter Chaffey $26,458.52 28 3  $   944.95
Jane Sharwood $24,689.19 34 5  $   726.15
Michael Anderson $21,827.00 16 1  $1,364.19
Fiona Snedden $19,623.65 25 4  $   784.95
Kristy Taylor $18,249.28 13 2  $1,403.79
Brian Shanahan $17,901.76 32 4  $   559.43
Edgar Dong $15,200.00 32 2  $   475.00
Carl Jetter $14,873.86 22 2  $   676.08
Mark Drew $13,489.18 14 2  $   963.51
Tom Parker $12,740.81 56 5  $   227.51
Trudy McPhee $11,170.12 33 2  $   338.49

1 December 2004 to 30 June 2007
The most travelled and biggest spenders in order of number of days spent away from Melbourne
(More then 20)
Name Total Cost No of Days No of Trips  Average Cost/Day 
Scott Chapman $59,564.53 69 12  $   863.25
David Pitchford $48,718.51 61 16  $   798.66
Geoff Lawler $58,113.77 56 10  $1,037.75
Tom Parker $12,740.81 56 5  $   227.51
Shane Power $7,322.73 55 6  $   133.14
John So  $45,171.05 43 11  $1,050.49
Graeme Porteous $1,670.35 38 2  $     43.96
Francis Khoo $3,759.24 35 2  $   107.41
Jane Sharwood $24,689.19 34 5  $   726.15
Trudy McPhee $11,170.12 33 2  $   338.49
Brian Shanahan $17,901.76 32 4  $   559.43
Edgar Dong $15,200.00 32 2  $   475.00
Murat Sezer $2,837.39 29 1  $     97.84
Kuang Lee $1,337.39 29 1  $     46.12
Kevin Louey $26,915.66 28 7  $   961.27
Peter Chaffey $26,458.52 28 3  $   944.95
Sue Beal $1,467.96 28 1  $     52.43
Gary Singer $36,563.46 26 4  $1,406.29
Fiona Snedden $19,623.65 25 4  $   784.95
Carl Jetter $14,873.86 22 2  $   676.08
Simon Spain $4,820.22 22 6  $   219.10
Steven Richardson $3,495.13 22 3  $   158.87
Shears $1,591.37 22 1  $     72.34
1 December 2004 to 30 June 2007
The most travelled and biggest spenders in order of number fo trips taken (More then 4)
Name Total Cost No of Days No of Trips  Average Cost/Day 
David Pitchford $48,718.51 61 16  $   798.66
Scott Chapman $59,564.53 69 12  $   863.25
John So  $45,171.05 43 11  $1,050.49
Geoff Lawler $58,113.77 56 10  $1,037.75
Bill Keon $6,644.34 15 8  $   442.96
Kevin Louey $26,915.66 28 7  $   961.27
Shane Power $7,322.73 55 6  $   133.14
Simon Spain $4,820.22 22 6  $   219.10
Rob Adams  $6,086.14 15 6  $   405.74
Tom Parker $12,740.81 56 5  $   227.51
Jane Sharwood $24,689.19 34 5  $   726.15
Brian Shanahan $17,901.76 32 4  $   559.43
Gary Singer $36,563.46 26 4  $1,406.29
Fiona Snedden $19,623.65 25 4  $   784.95
Nancy Di Santo $4,349.80 11 4  $   395.44
Michael Norton $3,189.94 6 4  $   531.66
Ian Harris $1,813.38 6 4  $   302.23
CITY OF MELBOURNE OVERSEAS AND INTERSTATE TRAVEL                    1 December 2004 to 30 June 2007
The most travelled and biggest spenders in order of average cost per day (More then $500 per day)
Name Total Cost No of Days No of Trips  Average Cost/Day 
Gary Singer $36,563.46 26 4  $1,406.29
Kristy Taylor $18,249.28 13 2  $1,403.79
Michael Anderson $21,827.00 16 1  $1,364.19
Hayden Cock $5,294.68 5 2  $1,058.94
John So  $45,171.05 43 11  $1,050.49
Mark Jones $3,121.38 3 1  $1,040.46
Keith Williamson $4,155.56 4 1  $1,038.89
Geoff Lawler $58,113.77 56 10  $1,037.75
Mike Dawson-Smith $5,930.41 6 2  $   988.40
Mark Drew $13,489.18 14 2  $   963.51
Kevin Louey $26,915.66 28 7  $   961.27
Peter Chaffey $26,458.52 28 3  $   944.95
Cecilia $2,735.48 3 1  $   911.83
Scott Chapman $59,564.53 69 12  $   863.25
David Pitchford $48,718.51 61 16  $   798.66
Catherine Ng $787.14 1 1  $   787.14
Fiona Snedden $19,623.65 25 4  $   784.95
Nalika Peiris $1,557.00 2 1  $   778.50
Holly Shorland $1,478.00 2 1  $   739.00
Bev Murray $2,938.79 4 1  $   734.70
Jane Sharwood $24,689.19 34 5  $   726.15
Linda Weatherson $7,876.90 11 3  $   716.08
Tasia Karlis $1,420.18 2 1  $   710.09
Terry Makings $3,458.72 5 3  $   691.74
Fraser Brindley $3,446.92 5 1  $   689.38
Robyn Leeson $6,193.22 9 1  $   688.14
Geoff Robinson $1,370.33 2 2  $   685.17
David Hassett $2,043.42 3 2  $   681.14
Steven Bebend $2,036.84 3 1  $   678.95
Carl Jetter $14,873.86 22 2  $   676.08
Martin Paten $4,604.00 7 1  $   657.71
Ian Rowan $4,602.01 7 2  $   657.43
Sandro Meloni $3,820.51 6 1  $   636.75
Bob Rosen $4,455.80 7 2  $   636.54
John Kanelopoulos $1,269.08 2 1  $   634.54
David Wilson $3,164.12 5 2  $   632.82
Michelle Coffey $1,855.82 3 1  $   618.61
Hok Sie $1,843.20 3 1  $   614.40
Andrew Korr $1,785.36 3 1  $   595.12
Lyn Wainwright $1,728.03 3 1  $   576.01
Brian Shanahan $17,901.76 32 4  $   559.43
Roger Berriman $557.83 1 1  $   557.83
Russ Wood $4,980.00 9 2  $   553.33
Ron Nelson $1,104.46 2 1  $   552.23
Trudie Balthazaar $5,399.79 10 3  $   539.98
Mark Cochrane-Holly $534.80 1 1  $   534.80
Paula Kilpatrick $1,603.63 3 1  $   534.54
Anthony McIntosh $2,664.86 5 1  $   532.97
Darren Comi $1,596.00 3 1  $   532.00
Michael Norton $3,189.94 6 4  $   531.66
Cherry Grimwade $7,755.45 15 1  $   517.03
Adrian Ong $511.80 1 1  $   511.80
Richard Frost $508.17 1 1  $   508.17
Linda Bee $1,518.44 3 1  $   506.15