OUTGOING Darebin councillor Nick Katsis has declared the current election should be abandoned and administrators brought in for the next four years.
The Darebin council has been investigated by the State Ombudsman. The council’s CEO Rasiah Dev took leave and has not returned to his position.
Cr Katsis proposed the radical changes to a shocked public gallery and his colleagues last Monday, stating the council should write to Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell asking her to:
■ Investigate the feasibility of an “immediate and comprehensive forensic investigation” into the assets of current councillors and their immediate family;
■ Look into amending the Local Government Act to ensure deals for council owned land that is either sold or developed in conjunction with external partners be scrutinised via forensic auditing process prior.
He also wanted Ms Powell to investigate limiting the powers all councils have to determine planning applications of 10 or more units that have attracted at least 30 objectors.
The motions were deferred until the next council meeting, by which time a new council will have been elected and will then consider sacking itself. They highlight the simmering tensions felt across the council, which is under the shadow of a looming State Ombudsman investigation into allegations of conflict of interest.
Cr Katsis, who will not contest his position at the October 27 election, said he was simply acting on concerns some residents had expressed to him about the current council’s conduct.
Cazaly Ward independent candidate Bo Li said it would have been better for Cr Katsis to have made his concerns known earlier.
“It’s OK for him to say that now that he’s leaving council; it’s easy to take pot shots once you’re on the way out.”
Cr Katsis denied he was trying to deliberately stir up trouble during an already contentious time.
“I’m just trying to do something on behalf of the community.”