Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lord Mayor Missing in Action

John So has not had a good month.

John first came under criticism following the release of the Ernst and Young efficiency report which found that John So was heading the Council towards bankruptcy and they seriously criticised his lack of good financial governance.

The report also unearthed another hidden layer of corruption in the Council's governance/administration which uses the BBC "Yes Minister" series as a "good governance guide in how to deceive the public (when is a cost not a cost - when it has not yet been acquitted - Good one Heather - lol how you managed to sell that to the Council auditors we never know but your sales pitch of deception did not win over your audience with that punch line).

Then came the motion of no-confidence in which John So avoided losing by using his casting vote. Both the Financial Review and the herald Sun have done a "expose on the Lord Mayor" which was not favourable.

Now the Age has weighed into the So hunt with this article by Clay Lucas.

So criticised for missing meetings
Clay Lucas, The Age, July 17, 2007

LORD Mayor John So has attended less than a third of Melbourne City Council meetings held in the past 18 months.

Cr So, who is on a salary of $110,000, has attended only 21 meetings out of a total of 76 held since January 2006. He attended 17 of the 18 full meetings of council, but only four committee meetings.

Fellow councillors said it was not good enough for the Lord Mayor to have missed so many council meetings.

"If councillors are not prepared to participate in democratic processes, then maybe they should step aside," said Cr Peter Clarke, a constant critic.

Cr Clarke and several others on the council believe that by operating this way Cr So dodges the responsibility for unpopular decisions — made initially at committee meetings and then ratified at full council meetings.

But the Lord Mayor argues that he does a more effective job by sending his deputy, Gary Singer, in his place to the council's committee meetings.

"I chair council meetings and my deputy represents the leadership team at committee meetings," Cr So said last night. His deputy, Cr Singer, attended 57 out of the 76 meetings held. "The job isn't just attending meetings," Cr Singer said.

The councillor with the worst attendance record was Catherine Ng, the chair of planning at the council, attending 42 meetings in the past 18 months.

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