Monitor’s stay extended

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FRANKSTON Council’s municipal monitor is set for an extended stay.

The state government appointed monitor Prue Digby to investigate and prepare a report on Frankston Council in December of 2017, with her tenure due to end in June this year. In the wake of former council CEO Dennis Hovenden’s resignation, Ms Digby has had her stay extended until the appointment of a new permanent CEO.

Questions from The Times about the monitor’s stay were directed to the department of environment, land, water and planning. A statement from the department read that “the current municipal monitor to Frankston City Council, Prue Digby, will continue as monitor to the council. From 1 July her terms of reference will be to monitor, advise and assist the council in relation to its actions and processes concerning to the recruitment and appointment of a permanent chief executive officer to fill the position caused by the recent resignation of Dennis Hovenden.” 

“The monitor’s appointment will conclude when the new CEO has commenced their role at the council. The CEO performs an integral role in providing support and advice to the council about its role, obligations and strategic direction, as well as delivering council services. It is important that the council undertakes its hiring processes for the new CEO appropriately,” the statement said.

Frankston Council mayor Michael O’Reilly told The Times last week that by April of this year, the monitor had cost ratepayers close to $94,000. He also said that the monitor has no requirements to submit her report to council upon the conclusion of her tenure.

“It’s evident that since Prue was appointed, council meetings have been running more efficiently and effectively, and that the number of notices of motion have reduced. This is largely due to councillors now working alongside officers to investigate their merit and viability prior to submitting,” Cr O’Reilly said.

There are currently municipal monitors at South Gippsland Shire Council, Frankston City Council, Greater Geelong City Council and Ararat Rural City Council. The South Gippsland Shire Council was sacked by the state government last month.

First published in the Frankston Times – 1 July 2019

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