MEMBER for Indi Sophie Mirabella and former member for Murray Valley Ken Jasper have opposing views on the departure of Wangaratta Council senior staffers including chief executive Doug Sharp.
Mrs Mirabella yesterday denied she had blood on her hands about the exit of Mr Sharp after supporting the stance taken by councillors Julian Fidge, Paul O’Brien and Noel Amery and mayor Rozi Parisotto about the contentious rural land strategy.
Mr Jasper has been a long-time supporter of Mr Sharp and claims the governance crisis is having a devastating effect.
Mrs Mirabella wrote congratulatory notes to the four councillors after the election alleging a protection racket could be challenged and a clean-up could start.
She said involvement by her in the departure of Mr Sharp and co was “absurd” and doubted there would be any election backlash next Saturday.
“There was definitely a lot of unhappiness amongst ratepayers with the way they were treated,” Mrs Mirabella said.
“Particularly the draft rural land strategy being shoved on them.
“It is why you saw real change at council level.
“Whatever improves the accountability, transparency and responsiveness of council and its employees to the ratepayers are the improvements that need to be made.”
Mr Jasper confirmed his support for independent candidate Cathy McGowan in the September 7 election despite being a long-time Coalition member.
Mr Jasper said he was proud of working alongside Mr Sharp to attract funding for projects including the arts centre, Norm Minns Oval, Barr Reserve and Department of Justice Building.
“It is having an extremely devastating effect on the Rural City of Wangaratta,” he said.
“There is no doubt much of the difficulty is being caused by one of the councillors.
“Doug Sharp and senior staff have worked extremely well.
“But you won’t satisfy everyone and one of the issues was the rural land strategy.”