A message from our CEO - transparency in Local Government

Published on 20 June 2016

I have reluctantly read recent comments by the Mildura & District Ratepayers Association.  It’s disappointing that a group who purports to have a focus on ‘governance’ and to be acting in the best interests of the ratepayers, continues to spread misinformation, negativity and shows scant regard for established employment practices and legal requirements.  Under close scrutiny, most of their claims fall apart or are shown to be just divisive opinion or unjustified statements posing as questions.

We have answered most of the queries raised by the Ratepayers Association, both publicly and via correspondence to us wherever possible.  They may choose to cherry pick the part of the responses they don’t like and share these with the media, but that just highlights the fact they seem to have no interest in understanding the information provided or appreciating the privacy requirements, legal or commercial in-confidence legislation and ethical decision-making standards by which we are bound. 

In that vein, we have encouraged them for some months to take their concerns to the relevant Authorities or the Ombudsman for investigation.  To date, we haven’t received any correspondence from any Local Government regulatory body asking us to justify any of our decisions or processes.

The fact is, Local Government is the most tightly regulated and scrutinised level of government in the country.  We are subject to official audits by State and Federal Government Agencies on a regular basis, as well as, and quiet rightly so, having our every decision looked closely at by our community. I am very comfortable with our current processes and procedures, with our transparency and our openness with the community. There are very important issues that this Council is addressing to improve quality of life for all members of our community and just because Council does not always have the answers, it doesn’t mean we’re not out there working to find solutions.

On a positive note, I must say I am extremely proud to be the CEO of Mildura Rural City Council.  Since starting here in October 2014 I have met and work with some of the most dedicated, proactive and passionate people I’ve ever seen in Local Government and in a regional community.  The leadership requirements of local government is the ability to build positive relationships within the organisation and the wider community. This is my expectation of all staff and senior executives.

I really want to encourage everyone in our community to continue to engage with us and be a part of the future direction of our organisation and the wider area.  We live in an amazing part of the world with fantastic opportunities for development and growth.  With positivity, joint goals and mutual respect, we can make the municipality of Mildura Rural City even greater. 

Gerard Jose
Chief Executive Officer