Mayor praises Maier

VINCENT mayor John Carey has publicly thanked former councillor Dudley Maier for his help bringing the budget deficit problems to light.

Last year the pair were looking like competitors, with Mr Maier considering running for mayor.

But at this week’s council meeting Mr Carey said “I want to thank the former Cr Dudley Maier who raised some of these issues and had done so in a constructive manner, and has assisted me as mayor in clarifying some of the issues.

“It does prove him right and I’m happy to say that on the public record.”

Before the last budget was passed Mr Maier had warned the council of consistently poor financial predictions the administration had given.

He presented a table showing that in each of the past five years, finance director Mike Rootsey had predicted a surplus, but each time they’d ended up millions in deficit.

Despite being warned about the trend the council had unanimously voted for the budget.

Dudley Maier

Dudley Maier

Mayor John Carey says he raised the issue with staff and Cr Josh Topelberg queried it at the budget meeting, but Mr Rootsey told them he was confident the council would be in surplus.

“I received that advice and I had to trust it,” Mr Carey says. He’s hoping new CEO Len Kosova will sort out the finances.

“We’ve got a new CEO Len who is driving that cultural change within the organisation, which we need,” Mr Carey says.

Mr Maier says it’s not the only financial problem that has confronted the council, noting a 2011 “mistake” over tipping fees that almost saw ratepayers overcharged $600,000.

“It is not just the director’s problem, although he has to take responsibility for his portfolio,” Mr Maier says.

Mr Rootsey is currently overseas.

The WA local government department picked up on problems during “routine monitoring,” and contacted mayor John Carey directly instead of routing concerns through the CEO, as it had done previously.

by DAVID BELL

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