A report into the Shire of Toodyay has highlighted the need for Councils and CEOs to seriously consider legal costs incurred when pursuing matters through the Courts. Legal costs incurred
by Councils are paid for by the local government’s ratepayers.
The report, which details the findings of the Inquiry into the Shire of Toodyay, was tabled in State Parliament on 13 October. It includes 25 findings and five recommendations with 15 of the findings involving the Shire’s former CEO.
The Inquiry was started by the department after a series of complaints about the Shire's operations were raised by electors and local community groups.
Through the investigation, poor financial and administration management practices were identified.
The report found evidence to show that the Shire's CEO did not adequately discharge his duties and that Council failed to take positive action.
Among the matters investigated were an overpayment of about $150,000 to a former CEO, with recovery of the funds approved at Council, against the then CEO's recommendation.
Contrary to the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996, no written explanation was provided in the Council minutes for this decision. Legal costs alone for pursuing the funds amounted to more than $547,000.
The current CEO has been employed at the Shire since June 2020.
Report of the Inquiry into the Shire of Toodyay