More online at Vincent

VINCENT council has added a slew of documents to be made available to the public online.

The move is a small victory for councillor Ros Harley, whose mission for transparency was sparked by her own problems obtaining information from the administration, although she says it’s far from over.

In 2013 Cr Harley made what she thought was a pretty simple request: A copy of then-CEO John Giorgi’s contract, as he’s the only employee directly hired by councillors and his contract was coming up for renewal. But she was stunned when she was knocked back.

Eventually she was allowed to view it in Mr Giorgi’s office for 15 minutes under supervision — but only part of the document.

“The mayor didn’t even have a copy — Alannah MacTiernan at the time,” Cr Harley says. “And when we did get it given to us it was an excerpt.

“I had to move a motion of council, which was legally binding, on the CEO to give us his contract.”

A short time later councillors asked to see senior staff’s credit card statements, but they were also knocked back.

Three years on, those obfuscations have led to councillors demanding more transparency, similar to moves happening in Bayswater council.

At Cr Harley’s urging a whole slew of other information will be available through a single online portal, including tenders and contracts over $150,000, complaints about breaches of the local government act, freedom of information requests, and registers of building and sporting ground leases (that’s been an issue in the past with some sporting clubs getting curiously sweet deals).

Cr Harley says staff are on board this time and the councillors are also giving current CEO Len Kosova free reign to publish online anything else he thinks is in the public interest.

The final vote on putting up the transparency portal is set for next week but is expected to pass without demur.

by DAVID BELL

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