Monitor leaves six figure bill

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THE municipal monitor’s stay at Frankston Council has come to an end.

After beginning her tenure in December of 2017, the state government appointed monitor Prue Digby finished up at council on 16 September. Ms Digby was appointed to investigate council and prepare a report on their governance.

The total cost of her stay to ratepayers added up to just over $111,000 up to 30 June of this year. A travel bill of over $5000 has also submitted.

Council CEO Phil Cantillon confirmed that Ms Digby’s stint had finished “following the recruitment of a permanent CEO”.

“Costs from 3 December 2017 to 30 June 2019 amount to $111,210 including GST, equivalent to 84 sitting days, in addition to this were travel costs of $5,864.64,” he said. “Invoices for the period 1 July to 19 September 2019 are yet to be submitted.”

The monitor had been due to finish in June, but had her stay extended after the resignation of former CEO Dennis Hovenden. After the extension of her stay was announced, the mayor Michael O’Reilly confirmed that the monitor has no requirement to submit her report to council upon the conclusion of her tenure (“Monitor’s stay extended”, The Times, 1/7/19).

When the monitor was appointed in 2017, the local government minister at the time Natalie Hutchins said “Frankston deserves a council that works in their best interests and is not beset by infighting.”

“The monitor will work with the councillors to improve the way they work as a team, how they work with the administration and make regular reports to me and the community,” she said.

Just last month, Frankston councillor Steve Toms was handed a four month suspension after a councillor conduct panel upheld a bullying complaint against him. It was alleged that Cr Toms had bullied fellow councillor Lillian O’Connor (“Councillor suspended after bullying complaint”, The Times, 9/9/19).

First published in the Frankston Times – 7 October 2019

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