Investigation into SA council given green light by Gago

By Rob O’Brien
The City of Burnside could become the first South Australian council in 15 years to face an independent investigation into council misconduct, it was announced today.

An investigation into the council was given the green light in an announcement by the South Australian Minister for Local Government Gail Gago following preliminary enquiries concluded by the Office of State and Local Government Relations (OSLGR).

Gago has written to the council to ask for an explanation, as the Local Government Act requires. However, if the minister is not satisfied with its explanation an investigator will be appointed.
“Preliminary enquiries by the OSLGR have given me reason to believe that a formal independent investigation may be warranted,” Gago said.
“If so, Burnside could become the first South Australian council to be investigated under the Local Government Act in 15 years."
Gago added that many questions surrounded the council’s conduct.
“While the City of Burnside has been embroiled in petty squabbles, personality clashes and internal disputes for far too long – more recent allegations about harassment and bullying are far more serious and I need to be assured that responsible decision making is occurring.”

Burnside Council had called for the Minister to investigate an unnamed elected member, who is alleged to have repeatedly tried to discredit the council.

The council had initially asked Gago to investigate harassment within the workplace. But in an interview with local radio this week she said that the issues within the council were broad-ranging and required a thorough investigation.

“The council may wish that my investigations be restricted to just only one person but I can assure you that any and all conduct that may constitute a breach will be scrutinised,” she said.

“I’m aware that there was a – a resolution was passed calling on me to investigate a particular councillor and I think it’s a decision that smacks of panic."

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