Archive for category conflict of interest

Ethics & Trust Gaps in Monash Council

Cr Lake’s past to present bullying behaviour is not the only concern for the Monash Community.

He sits on many superannuation boards and a private equity and property funds company. While he is a director of Vision Super (the fund management entity that manage the Defined Superannuation funds for council employees), he also own shares.

It is common knowledge that many superannuation funds are the key players in property investments – they fund property developers. Cr Lake leads the Glen Waverley Activity Centre subcommittee, and a key influencer in directing the massive redevelopment of Glen Waverley and the sale of the Glen Waverley central car park. Obviously he did not consider any conflict of interest between his personal and council work to date, because he did not declare any potential conflict of interest, even indirect ones.

Alarm bells were ringing last year when the Mayne report (July, 2015) highlighted that Lake failed to disclose that he is pocketing $70,000 a year from his Vision Super board seat as one of two representatives of the Municipal Association of Victoria. The report said “He wouldn’t be getting this much as deputy chair without the voting support of the four ASU directors and broader support from Labor councillors in Victoria. At City of Melbourne, we have a policy that councillors appointed to board seats return any fees paid to council. This is just one of many governance issues at the MAV which Lake, as a former President and the longest serving director, needs to sort out following this damning report by the Victorian Auditor General earlier this year.”

The 26 April 2016 Waverley Leader recently reported that he is regular recipient of gifts, which the Monash community hears for the first time, including his connections with Asian targeted property investment funds, which fund property developers.

GL Conflict of Interest

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MAV Poor Probity Standards and the Impact on Monash Council

A key and ongoing function of MRI advocacy work is checking oversight of good governance practice in all matters affecting Monash Council. During the last 18 months, MRI was approached by the public over concerns about the probity standard and integrity of the MAV/Ironbark procurement arrangement. We check the integrity of the information collected and compiled the evidence based report which we shared with a number of high authorities, including the Victoria Auditor General Office. We left the matter to their responsibility to deal with the matter and finally there is some results:MAV Poor Probity Standards

(On-Source: Herald Sun, 3 Mar 2015)

Finally, we have a positive outcome from our good governance oversight work, the VAGO report that highlights the need for major systematic improvements in the Local Government Victoria department and the LG Body Corporate, MAV.

The report highlighted that :

VAGO Report on LGV and MAVOne of the preferred suppliers in the MAV/Ironbark deal, Artcraft Urban Group (AUG) was sued for IP copyright infringement last year (Federal Court of Australia, 2014). In the September 2014 Council meeting, Councillors knew of the court case hearing but the majority votes were to support procuring through MAV/Ironbark. Cr Lake did not declare that he is a paid Board member of the MAV, represents MAV in its superanuation business as advisor to Vision Super and that his partner works for MAV (this information is public information anyway). He cast his vote to procure through MAV/Ironbank.

In the January 2015 Council meeting, in item 5.2 (Council Representation on Organisations/Committees) Cr Zographos questioned why there were no report about Council’s representative on the MAV. Cr Lake behaved personally defensive about the question asked and the discussion continued as another typical misconduct episode of “debating about the person” rather the matter on hand.

The community needs to understand what exactly is  the value add of Council’s MAV membership, which there is no accountability KPIs of benefits received at all. Cr Lake defensive response to not support public reporting Council’s representation on the MAV is not good enough for this community.  His demonstration of a lacking probity culture reflects exactly some of the MAV integrity and accountability issues that the VAGO identified.  It is time, the community expects public reports of KPI measures of MAV membership and a formal declaration of Cr Lake’s and other Councillors’ involvement in MAV and VLGA and other similar agencies.

 We hope some of our Councillors will pursue questioning the value of MAV membership, review all procurement arrangements with MAV to attest their value add benefits, if any; and ensure Cr Lake is excluded from any future MAV decision making matters due to his personal and official conflicts of interest  associated with MAV.

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More news in:

The full VAGO report is in http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports_and_publications/latest_reports/2014-15/20150226-support-for-local-gov.aspx

MAV’s response to that report – http://www.mav.asn.au/News/Pages/vago-performance-audit-report-26feb15.aspx

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