Better days: The City of Whittlesea Council as a group. Digitally Altered Image
By Joshua Wells

AN ONGOING dispute between councillors from the City of Whittlesea has led to a special meeting tonight where it will be requested a municipal monitor be installed.

The potential request to the Minister for Local Government Marlene Kairou would be to install a monitor to make sure governance processes are being followed and provide advice on improvements.

The special meeting was formally announced by Cr Ricky Kirkham, Cr Caz Monteleone and Cr Alanha Desiato on May 1 with all three not present at the ordinary council meeting.

Cr Kirkham said in a statement he believed a culture of censorship had developed.

“There is a culture of censorship where poor decisions are rammed through with no accountability,” he said.

Last week, Cr Kirkham told the Whittlesea Review he was seriously considering the future of his term and the council.

Mayor Kris Pavlidis said she would welcome a monitor to investigate.

“I welcome the request for a monitor. The City of Whittlesea is at an exciting stage of growth and prosperity and requires mature, responsible and transparent decision makers around the table,” she said.

“Council business is being completed at each council meeting and we continue to deliver quality services effectively to our community.

“As Mayor I am committed to chairing meetings that allow decision making to follow democratic processes and where councillors conduct themselves professionally, respectfully and adhere to the relevant code of conduct and legislation.”

In the announcement, Cr Monteleone continued in support of the motion and said the council’s leadership was neglecting the community.

“Proper processes are being thrown out the window at the expense of our community,” he said.

“Decisions are being made with no justification or business case… we need an independent monitor to keep an eye on council governance.”

Cr Desiato said Mayor Pavlidis had ejected more than 100 residents from public meetings which was a concern.

“The community has been denied a fair hearing on issues that matter to them… instead of picking up rubbish council is treating residents like rubbish,” she said.

“I feel voiceless and unable to exercise my elected responsibilities.”

It is understood the monitor motion is set to pass with a number of councillors willing to ask for a monitor for the next 18 months.

One of which is Cr Tom Joseph who said he was hopeful a monitor could clean council meetings up.

“Council’s business is running as usual, however, considering the behaviour of some councillors – like constant disruptions and interjections – a monitor would help,” he said.