Vincent deficit: ‘we weren’t told’

FORMER Vincent CEO John Giorgi apparently did not tell the elected council the WA local government department had been issuing him letters warning about finance problems.

The department had sent the council letters three times raising “questions regarding the city’s financial position and reporting discrepancies”.

Problems included a $3.2million deficit wrongly counted as a surplus, along with finance director Mike Rootsey’s consistently wrong predictions the budget would be balanced. For five years they were instead in deficit by millions.

Two of the warning letters were sent during Alannah MacTiernan’s term as mayor, but she says they weren’t passed to her.

“I am having records checked but I would have remembered if such letters had been raised with me,” Ms MacTiernan—now the federal Labor MP for Perth—says.

MacTiernan, Maier say elected council kept in the dark

“I find it astounding that the department did not alert the [elected] council to this problem. I had been seeking the department’s advice on the validity of senior officer contracts so they were aware I had concerns about the quality of advice I was receiving.”

Former councillor Dudley Maier sat on the audit committee and he also says the letters had never been raised.

“The fact that the previous CEO did not inform council of the [department’s] concerns and then did nothing to address the matter in the 2013/14 budget is mind boggling,” he says.

The department sent the council another letter in January this year with John Carey as mayor but, again, elected members weren’t told of the concerns.

The first that elected members heard about the correspondence was in July when the department wrote directly to Mr Carey instead of routing warnings through the executive.

The Voice contacted Mr Giorgi at his new job at Cambridge town council but we didn’t hear back.

by DAVID BELL

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