Ex-mayors call for monitor

LtoR- Ex-Mayors Henry Barlow, Pat Goodwin and Kim McAliney. (Joe Mastroianni). 242606_02

By Alesha Capone

Three former Wyndham mayors have called for a monitor to be appointed to Wyndham council.

The ex-councillors – Henry Barlow, Pat Goodwin and Kim McAliney – said they were speaking out as they are concerned for Wyndham’s future.

The trio has a combined total of more than four decades’ experience serving on Wyndham council.

Ms Goodwin was the municipality’s first female mayor during the 1990s, while Mr Barlow and Ms McAliney were both councillors up until 2020.

Ms McAliney said there has been “an escalation” in behaviour at Wyndham council meetings including swearing, name-calling, intimidation, interruption, yelling and a lack of respect shown during debates.

She said councillors have a responsibility to behave professionally.

“Enough is enough,” Ms McAliney said.

Ms McAliney said she felt that she had no choice but to resign from the council last June.

I felt my professionalism and integrity was being compromised,” she said.

Ms Goodwin said that her reaction to council meetings was to think: “Oh my God, it’s dreadful”.

“What is happening now is against everything I envisage it should be,” she said.

The three former mayors said that many residents, including former councillors, have contacted them about the council’s behaviour.

Mr Barlow said a major reason he did not stand at last year’s council elections was that he felt “very concerned the next council would be as bad or worse than what had been happening over the past couple of years”.

“Some of the behaviours are just shocking, I’d hate for people to think you’ve got to act like that on council to get things done,” he said.

Ms McAliney, Ms Goodwin and Mr Barlow said they would like the state government to appoint a monitor to oversee Wyndham council’s meetings and briefings.

They said a monitor was needed because they did not want to see Wyndham council dismissed, like Whittlesea, Greater Geelong and Casey councils have been.

Mr Barlow said the monitor should work closely with the council’s new chief executive Stephen Wall, who is due to start on August 9, “to see the bad behaviour of the past six months cease”.

A Wyndham council spokesperson said avenues for dealing with concerns about council behaviour were outlined in Wyndham’s code of conduct, with the Local Government Inspectorate and the local government minister “being the final decision-makers depending on the matter raised”.