THE latest attack on besieged Wangaratta Council chief executive Doug Sharp has misfired.
Cr Julian Fidge claimed the special meeting held by the council last Friday regarding the council’s $3.8 million contribution to the Co-Store multi-deck car park was unlawful and aimed the blame squarely at Mr Sharp.
“There is no provision in Section 84 of the Local Government Act 1989 for Mr Sharp to call a special meeting,” Cr Fidge said.
“Only the mayor or councillors can call a special meeting of council.
“I believe that calling the special meeting unlawfully also invalidates all actions and decisions made by the council at that meeting including the motion to proceed with the Target car park.”
But the council responded by citing two instances where the chief executive had the power to call a special meeting.
The Local Government Act doesn’t preclude the chief executive from calling such a meeting and the “instrument of delegation” to the chief executive includes the power to determine any issue or take any action.
The chief executive then must outline the reasons for calling a special meeting at the next meeting of the council.
A council spokesman yesterday said the required report would be presented to the council on February 19.
The council voted 4-3 in agreeing to pay $3.8 million towards the car park cost that will deliver an additional 145 spaces.
Mayor Rozi Parisotto used her casting vote to ensure the project went ahead as she was part of the previous council that had given the green light in May last year.
But at the previous meeting she supported Cr Fidge and two other new councillors in preventing Mr Sharp and other council executive members engaging consultants for 12 months.
Cr Fidge opposed the council dedicating 20 per cent of its capital works budget towards the project without being adequately briefed.
The spokesman said special meetings were not uncommon in Wangaratta.
The memorandum of understanding with the Co-Store developers was dealt with at a special meeting as were the Charles Sturt University campus announcment, the South Wangaratta Urban Renewal Strategy and the budget.
The council also dealt with the ongoing probity audit requested by Cr Fidge in a confidential session last Friday.