Veteran councillor airs concerns

Photo by Damjan Janevski. 209276_01

By Alesha Capone

A veteran councillor says that many of the issues identified in a report which led to the sacking of Casey council are also occurring within Wyndham.

Chaffey ward representative Henry Barlow, who has served five council terms, is not contesting the upcoming council election.

Cr Barlow released a farewell letter last week, thanking residents, council staff, committee members, former mayor Kim McAliney, and councillors Peter Maynard and Tony Hooper.

Cr Barlow wrote that he would “not miss the egos, the networkers (and) wannabe politicians”, “the councillors who do not understand conflict of interest or planning”, or “the useless notice of motions” which some councillors use to create a “personal profile”.

Speaking to Star Weekly last week, Cr Barlow said that some of the issues identified in municipal monitor Laurinda Gardner’s report into Casey council could also be attributed to Wyndham council.

The report led to the dismissal of Casey council. Ms Gardner’s report identified issues including bullying and intimidation, such as exclusion and cliques at a council level; avoidance culture which undermined good governance; and low levels of understanding of conflict of interest.

Cr Barlow said he believed the people of Wyndham deserved better than the behaviour which some councillors engaged in.

He said the council was divided and claimed carpark meetings were held after normal meetings.

“It soon became obvious to council and the general public that this was the case,” he said.

Cr Barlow said he was concerned this year’s council elections could end up being a repeat of the 2016 elections, which were investigated by the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate.

A Wyndham council spokesperson said: “Wyndham City would like to take this opportunity to thank Cr Barlow for his contribution to council and the City of Wyndham over many years.”