Moira Council hires ex-Wangaratta Council CEO

Doug Sharp.
Doug Sharp.

FORMER Wangaratta Council chief executive officer Doug Sharp has returned to local government close to the 12-month anniversary of his departure from his previous role.

Moira Shire has appointed Mr Sharp as its acting corporate governance director following the recent departure of Alison Coe to Latrobe Council in Gippsland.

Mr Sharp and other members of his former senior management team agreed to a “mutual departure” from Wangaratta at an emergency meeting of council held in late August last year.

He and other former senior staff members had been on extended sick leave following a breakdown with the council which was sacked by then local government minister Jeanette Powell less than a month later.

His appointment to Moira was confirmed in a brief prepared statement released by its chief executive officer Mark Henderson yesterday.

“Doug Sharp has commenced as acting director corporate governance at Moira Council on a temporary basis as we undertake longer term executive recruitment,” Mr Henderson said.

“We appreciate the experience and local government knowledge that Doug brings to Moira Council.”

Mr Henderson and Mr Sharp both formerly held the position of chief executives at Alpine Shire.

Mr Sharp will join one of his former Wangaratta senior colleagues, Andrew Close, at Moira.

Mr Close is employed in the acting role of infrastructure and liveability director.

He was also one of the senior staff members who agreed to leave Wangaratta last year, with the combined cost of the payouts amounting to $820,000.

The breakdown between Mr Sharp and senior staff members and some councillors at Wangaratta was re-visited recently at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal during former councillor Julian Fidge’s appeal.

Dr Fidge told VCAT Mr Sharp and others were “upset and aggrieved” by the 2012 election result.

Moira has endured some recent turbulence, including the recent issuing of incorrect rate notices.

More than 17,000 notices were mistakenly calculated using a lower rate than the figure published in the council’s 2014-15 adopted budget, which would have resulted in a $500,000 revenue shortfall.

The Moira Shire Residents Action Group will hold meetings at Nathalia tonight and Club Mulwala tomorrow night to discuss the rates notices gaffe and the recent decision to cancel an independent probity audit.