Council under attack on eve of amalgamation protest

 

A report from the Office of Local Government gives Strathfield Council 40 days to respond to claims about its procurement processes, according to today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

The report cites a state government investigation claiming the council paid a property management company almost $900,000 to help with an underground bus interchange at the town centre, investigates the procurement of legal services and council’s role as trust manager of the Hudson Park Golf course and driving range.

Many of the matters date back to 2009.

Strathfield sources pointed out that the Herald report appeared on the morning of Strathfield’s people’s rally against amalgamation and the investigation report had been handed to the council on the night of its October meeting, giving it little time to respond.

A council spokesman told The Sydney Morning Herald it had already taken action to address the issues raised “of its own volition.”

“Council has full confidence in its officers and the robustness of its new internal control systems and procurement procedures and policies”.

A council spokesperson told the Scene: "Strathfield Council has fully cooperated with the Office of Local Government throughout the investigations.

It is important to emphasize that the investigation relating to Strathfield Council is not related to corruption, criminal activity, or any other serious misconduct. It is focused on technical aspects relating to Council's procurement administration history.

“Strathfield Council has made its historical records fully available and has actively volunteered any material that might useful.

“The exhaustive OLG investigation has identified an isolated number of historical incidents. Council has responded rapidly to rectify practices quickly and efficiently.

“The Council has employed a Procurement Specialist and amended Council’s Procurement and Tendering policies and guidelines to ensure that additional internal controls are in place.”

According to the Herald, Local Government Minister Paul Toole said: “The Strathfield community deserves a full explanation.”


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