Wangaratta Council's new numbers game

WANGARATTA Council will walk a delicate tightrope in coming months as the city’s three administrators begin to take their first round of leave from the roles they took up last September.

Chief administrator Ailsa Fox has been the first to take leave and her absence left former Wangaratta mayor Irene Grant and Rod Roscholler to preside over this week’s meeting where they chose to delay a decision on a boarding house proposal.

Two administrators are required to be on deck for a meeting to proceed, but there remains a possibility a meeting could be called off due to the lack of quorum.

It would only require one administrator to fall sick when a colleague is already on leave for a meeting to be abandoned and council operations interrupted.

There are no emergency provisions provided by the Local Government department for someone to be available at short notice should two administrators be unavailable.

Mrs Grant chaired this week’s meeting in the absence of Mrs Fox, who is due to return on July 9 ahead of the next meeting when the Pizzini boarding house proposal will be back before the council.

The council will have only two administrators available for meetings during August, September and October.

Another issue in Wangaratta, the stalled upgrade of the city’s saleyards, could come up when there are two administrators on deck.

The council’s budget includes $3.4 million for the saleyards project and administrators are facing increased pressure from producers and agents to make a start.

They have presented a 973-signature petition to administrators.

The administrators are in place until the 2016 local government elections.

They were appointed by former Local Government minister Jeanette Powell following her decision to remove the seven-member council last September.

They were sworn in two months later with Mrs Powell confirming Mrs Fox would be paid $125,000 a year for the next three years and Mrs Grant and Mr Roscholler $98,000 annually each.