Ratepayers may not be aware of the Councillors misusing their positions

Eugene Benson from Moonee Valley Weekly reports (26 Mar 2013):

Councillor Shirley Cornish to face courtHappier times: Former mayor Shirley Cornish will face court in April. Picture: Michael Copp


FORMER Moonee Valley mayor and current Rosehill ward councillor Shirley Cornish will appear in the Broadmeadows Magistrates Court on April 4 to face a charge related to her actions while mayor in 2010.

Cr Cornish is the second Moonee Valley councillor to be charged by the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate after its investigation into allegedly improper payments made to the city’s former chief executive Rasiah Dev. Cr Cornish has been charged with one breach of section 76D of the Local Government Act 1989 for the alleged misuse of her position to obtain an advantage for Mr Dev.

It is alleged that as a consequence of the misuse of her position, Mr Dev gained an advantage of more than $13,600.

The charge specifically relates to an allegation that Cr Cornish signed a document with a council letterhead that endorsed a variation to Mr Dev’s contract. That variation is believed to be a 5 per cent wage increase resulting in a $13,600 gain for the former chief executive. Any variation to a chief executive’s payment is required to be brought before the entire council.

In December, fellow Moonee Valley councillor Paul Giuliano was found guilty by the Broadmeadows Magistrates Court on a similar charge relating to his time as mayor in 2009.

He was handed a $1000 fine, but was allowed to continue all normal duties as a Buckley ward councillor.

The Weekly understands Cr Cornish’s hearing may last for three days and include as many as 30 witnesses. Cr Cornish would not be drawn to comment on the charge but is expected to plea not guilty.

By choosing that plea she would leave herself open to paying legal fees if proven guilty.

Mr Dev left the council in April 2010 and is now Darebin Council’s chief executive. Darebin Council has been subject to its own external investigation since appointing Mr Dev.

MAV’s Defined Benefits Super Accountability – the shits starting to hit the fan!

A Ballarat Councillor is saying “Councils around the state have been hit by a shortfall due to liabilities to the former Local Authorities Superannuation Fund defined benefit scheme.

Cr Harris slammed operating fund Vision Super and the Municipal Association of Victoria for underestimating the liability in what he called an “incompetent process ……………

…….I have talked openly with Councillors about withdrawing from the MAV, as I think this has been an incompetent process and I still don’t have any concept we are being represented effectively……….

…………..Council might take the decision to downscale the organisation, but there’s no way to mitigate the need for the one per cent rise.”

The Municipal Association of Victoria was not available for comment yesterday.

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VAGO’s Report on Fraud Management in Local Government

If you are detecting or experiencing possible fraudulent risks and incidents in your Council, the you should read the Vic Auditor General Office’s report on Fraud Prevention Strategies in Local Government and also new toolkit added – Ensuring Unbiased Democratic Council Decision Making in toolkit page. Latest June newsletter in Publication page.