TWO members of the former Wangaratta Council, Lauren McCully and Doug McPhie, have turned the heat back on outspoken new councillor Julian Fidge.
They took aim during question time on Tuesday night with Ms McCully saying Cr Fidge’s election cost-saving drive was at odds with his push for a probity auditor.
Council officer Ray Park said the cost of the probity auditor could be as high as $50,000.
Mr McPhie suggested criticism of the council’s chief executive Doug Sharp over Target car park development dealings might have scared off investors.
Ms McCully said ratepayers had a right to know how much was being spent on Cr Fidge’s pursuit of Mr Sharp.
“The probity auditor is a very expensive consultant and that money could have been put to better use like spraying weeds in rural areas,” she said.
Cr Fidge brushed off his critics yesterday, saying the auditor would cost closer to $4000 than $40,000.
“They have a cheek having a go when they performed so badly,” he said.
“These people ran the worst council in Victoria.”
Meanwhile, the Local Government Inspectorate cleared the council over matters Cr Fidge referred to it about the special meeting on February 8.
The inspectorate said Mr Sharp had the power to call the meeting, its timing was within statutory guidelines and the mayor Cr Rozi Parisotto hadn’t been coerced into signing a notice about the meeting.
Cr Fidge has accepted the findings and Mr Sharp was unavailable for comment last night.
“I am not going to contest that in court and we will leave that as a grey area,” Cr Fidge said.
The inspectorate is considering more issues at Wangaratta Council.
Cr Fidge will attend a councillor conduct panel on a fresh complaint lodged by Cr Parisotto.
That is in addition to complaints lodged by councillors Tammy Atkins, Lisa McInerney and Don Joyce.
Cr Parisotto has said Cr Fidge was disrespectful to her at a meeting.
“They will reach whatever decision they reach,” Cr Fidge said.
“If they tell me to apologise I will do that.”