The whistleblower whose complaint sparked an Ombudsman investigation into Wodonga Council’s overcharging on waste charges says he feels vindicated by the findings.
Charles Mitchell, a former council strategic asset manager, said he was still recovering from his time working in the “unhealthy” council culture.
“I'm still on medication recovering from the stress that I endured working at the council under unethical conditions fostered by senior management,” he said.
Mr Mitchell, who was employed at council from January 2007 into 2017, further called for a full investigation into council.
“The directors and CEO were all fully informed of the profit made by the waste business unit,” he said.
“As a previous budget manager at Wodonga Council we are all told at the annual budget preparation meeting that we can only charge for the cost of the services, we cannot overcharge … For over 10 years this has been the consistent message delivered by the finance manager to all budget managers meetings. But it seemed as if that rule didn't apply to [senior staff].”
Mr Mitchell said past and current directors were told repeatedly by budget managers and external consultants that they could not overcharge for services, but this was ignored.
Wodonga Council refused to comment on whether senior staff had been aware of the overcharging, or if there was an “unethical and unhealthy culture” among council staff.
In a statement it said council would not comment on claims made against the organisation or staff, saying there was a due process to follow and “a trial by media” was not appropriate.