Archive for category Governance
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.
The redevelopment saga of Glen Waverley’s central car park has attracted another community option for best value consideration by Monash Council. This new community option, called People’s Park, was developed as a result of consulting local residents, traders, local school parents and other Monash ratepayers and residents and conducting due diligent business case research. The proposal is a substantiated and viable alternative for redeveloping the central car park, in addition to Cr Lake’s option.
This People’s Park option proposes partnership with Apple to build an underground technology retail and multimedia library center with two additional levels of underground car parks.
It recommends more and viable funding choices than Cr Lake’s option, which only pursues to sell the car park to fund a new library and a small public space, and allow high density developments that will threaten the feng shui of Glen Waverley and increase local population without providing local and green open space in close proximity. The sale of the central car park will also mean the loss of GW’s most prized land that can potentially provide the local community and shoppers scarce green open space amenities and services.
March’s meeting documentation has revealed continuing preference for Cr Lake’s option to progress into Request for Tender. Quality due diligent information to substantiate Cr Lake’s option against the John Monash Multicultural Square (JMMS) proposal (put in by another community group) was lacking, as there was the absence of evidence based business case information and a best value evaluation framework, resulting in the GW subcommittee (lead by Cr Lake) and council staff making subjective recommendations to reject the JMMS proposition. In the three public community consultation sessions (attended by more than 150 people) that Council has organized to discuss the fate of the central car park, MRI representatives who attended all 4 meetings, including the JMMS one, had witnessed over 95% of participants did not want the new library and high rise developments and prefer the central car park remain an open space. This strong non support for Cr lake’s library was never documented clearly in council’s public records. However, the March meeting documentation continues to misrepresent the strong Monash community’s non support for Cr Lake’s option during the community consultations and instead presented information that says otherwise.
Like the selling of Monash and Elizabeth Gardens aged care facilities in 2013 and the deliberate and the long standing deficit financial management of the Euvena carpark, Cr Lake is once again leading and strengthening group-think decision making towards selling the central car park to fund and build a state of the art new library in the Glen Waverley central car park, a personal obsession that he willed on his constituents since the 2012 election, despite the community’s strong non support for his obsession.
Party politics stricken Councillors representing their own interests first is the growing new black in Monash, a proven fact also recently supported by the Waverley Leader, reporting the lateness and poor governance of council meeting in March and their growing failure to represent the community’s views.
Ratepayers and residents concerned about Council’s one direction for redeveloping the Glen Waverley central car park should have their say at a Community Consultation session at Monash Council Glen Waverley on Thursday 28 Jan 7pm. A residents’ investigation aka citizen jury report explains why:
Non-residents and political career hopefuls Councillors Klisaris and Lake are once again imposing another monumental and potentially costly mistake in the form of a library and community hub adjacent to yet another inappropriate high rise on the Central Car Park site, in order to justify their disastrous Euneva Car Park. Lacking in business acumen, they did not get it right with the financial management of operating Euneva Car Park, such as ignoring opportunities for it to attract fees for all day parking. With such poor decisions, should the Monash community trust them with another spending spree?
If the proposed library and community hub usage reflects that of Euneva car-park, it will be under utilised from day one.
Glen Waverley property sales turned over $885 Million in the 12 months to Nov 2015, second (in Australia) only to Mosman in Sydney. Like comparing apples and bananas, does our Council seriously think that the Monash demographic, residing in its 81 sq km, requires ratepayers to upgrade its sixth community funded regional library to mirror the size and criteria of Geelong’s new regional library? Geelong has a lower SEIFA index, higher unemployment and was the recipient of $25 million in state and federal funding for their Regional Library and Heritage (Archive) Centre servicing an area of 1249 sq km. Furthermore, the Geelong library is located on the site of the original 750sq m Geelong library, with views of Corio Bay is adjacent to the large Johnstone Park, and therefore its location does not interfere with commercial precincts. In contrast, Glen Waverley residents and its schools are well equipped to provide technology to those who need it but there will be a lack of open space and social connectedness if all land is swallowed by developers. Open all hours and to everyone, free public open space allows equal access and does not discriminate.
Lifeline received over million calls for help in 2015. “Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel CEO has said Australians’ emotional well being was not in sync with their material wealth. They have three digital devices and sometimes that technology, as great as it is, can also enhance our feelings of loneliness, our feelings of isolation.” ( Ref: 13 Jan 2016 ABC reporter Eliza Laschon).
For the mental and physical health of all in the community and to facilitate ongoing economic activity in the southern end of Kingsway – it’s imperative we retain the whole of the Central Car Park site a public open space, with free WiFi above ground and an underground car park below, as it will be Glen Waverley’s most valuable asset for all to enjoy for decades to come.
EU (you) NEVA (never) want to park here
In attempts to woo motorists to this unpopular 3 ½ year old parking option, Council decided to spend $57,000 on lighting this eyesore, and on the days leading up to Christmas, the Euneva Ave Car Park was advertised on two electronic Traffic Management Signs on either side of Kingsway. However, despite these measures, at 11.20am pre-Christmas on 22 December 2015 Euneva housed 113 cars i.e.35% full and at 2.40pm on Friday 8 January 2016 only 65 cars i.e. 20% parked there. In contrast the popular Central Car Park was full on both occasions.
Therefore, many Monash constituents are increasingly viewing that their self-absorbed councillors are playing ‘Monopoly’ with ratepayers money as if it were their own, to build the new library on the Central Car Park site, in order to force cars of clientele of Kingsway and surrounds, into the inconveniently located Euneva Car Park. Euneva now, and always should have been, available for all day ‘destination’ parking, but it is being reserved for limited parking to satisfy the development of Cr lake’s dream library he imposed on his constituents as his self decided election goal.
In July 2015 the Council approved a $500 million redevelopment of The Glen, and in turn ignored future height controls for buildings along Sneddon Avenue. The ‘new’ Glen will include 3,800 car spaces. Shopping centres very often allow unrestricted parking in order to encourage consumers to increase their time within the centres to maximise spending. Once captured, few will venture outside i.e. to the old Kingsway strip, especially as dining and entertainment has been muted as one of the ‘new’ Glen’s focus.
In recent years Kingsway has diversified from traditional retail to that of food and entertainment strip with late night trading embraced by locals and visitors. To continue to have one hour car parking in front of restaurants and cinemas reflects the disconnect between the council officers who are in control [yet themselves get free parking], and their ignorance of real life consequences as it discriminates against Kingsway traders and their customers. The new one hour electronically monitored constraint does not allow drivers to park one minute late the moment their cars get scanned electronically. This increase car parking penalty fines, as an indirect strategy of new fund raising used by many councils, because of capped rates legislation commencing next financial year.
In Sept 2015 parking overstay devices (PODS) were installed in Monash, including in Kingsway, rear of the existing Library and Council Offices, and the Central Car Park to enforce disproportionate penalties on patrons parking overtime in the immediate vicinity of Kingsway’s food and entertainment precinct. The signage associated with these PODS is fastened with flimsy cable ties, not explanatory of the fines that could be incurred and are often at *right angles to the parking signs and not noticed by motorists. Overstay fines jump from $76 to around $100 if left unpaid. Park and display ticketing options would have been fairer and more acceptable.
While Cr Lake has consistently insist that Monash Council will not charge car parking, he also contradicts the GWAC Transport Plan that confirms that the council is considering a car parking fee scheme. The GWAC structural plan also stated the city planning goal is to make GW a primary pedestrian realm and the transport plan indicates that council will cost shift car parking problem management to the state to find alternatives in other public areas.
In 2012, when Cr Lake thought the world is at his feet, he wasn’t joking about his narcissism. He seriously continues to think the Monash community should share his same dream and have a new library in his ward, Glen Waverley, since he got re-elected in 2012.
Narcissists seldom listen to others. That is exactly how the Monash Community, especially Glen Waverley residents, feel about their local Councillor who doesn’t want to know his constituents do NOT WANT a new indoor library in Glen Waverley. Furthermore, nobody quite understand Cr Lake’s dreamworld of what the state of a library is? It is only in the Expression of Interest (EoI) to sell the central car park (section 3.2.2 pages 3-6) that describes his dream – that the new library functions as a modern community hub space that promotes community learning for the young and old, fosters multi-cultural activities, even serves as an ICT innovation incubation centre that incorporates “technologies that have not yet been developed” (whatever that means) and provides auditorium/conference facilities that cater for 600 people. Realistically and with a logical mind, one would say that even NASA personnel would never claim their facilities would incorporate “technologies that have not yet been developed” into their infrastructure. Competing with Monash University’s real state of the art incubation and startup facilities and expertise appears to be a very ambitious given in this EoI description of the new library / community hub development.
The development specs, even in its conceptual form, is the (most embarrassing) professional standard of how Cr Lake’s dream translate to a procurement criteria for potential investors buying the central car park and developing his dream library. Also fancy imagining Silicon Valley calibre innovators and high flying investors mingling with young kids and the elderly in hallways and sharing the learning/work spaces. Is this an “innovative” Monash perculiar architecture model of mixed human activity and architecture form interfaces?
What Monash want is a virtual library service, and yet their understanding and capacity to implement such forms of library virtualism is very much constrained by their collective level of ICT literacy, and being technology savvy is unfortunately about being mediocre users of today’s technology who have no idea of technology research advancement and innovation development. Conceiving that 3D printers constitute part of future library services without understanding their demand of technical CAD/CAM knowledge and support, and high total cost of ownership is also poor governance in council’s decision making and new service development – cost shifting cannot be the blame for future cost inflation and rate rises because of today’s leadership incompetency. Not long ago, Cr Klisaris thought a social media provider is a language communication specialist who can help improve council’s English language capacity to communicate its city planning proposals to the community (Herald Sun, 17 Nov 2015).
Narcissism is becoming the new black in Monash Council leadership and decision making culture, because of the GWAC plan to redevelop the central car park. 2016 is the time such narcissists should ride into the sunset and disappear forever, banished into exile, if needed.
Feng shui dragons symbolically represent areas of good energy or chi. People living in such areas prosper in terms of wealth, health and well being. The Indian community also shares similar beliefs through their Vastu knowledge. Hence this feng shui analysis would also present interests to both Chinese and Indian ratepayers and residents in Glen Waverley.
Regionally, Glen Waverley (GW) represents the tail of a feng shui dragon that spans across Box Hill (as its body) and Doncaster (its head).
This is a common knowledge among Chinese locals and investors, as real estate agents often use this in their overseas marketing and client targeting.
GW city , specially the central car park area is the primary “mouth” of this dragon chi gathering and distribution into GW city (there is a smaller chi entry at The Glen’s car park next to Sullivan Road, which will disappear when The Glen high rise developments occur). This dragon chi flows from Springvale Road (metaphorically a river) and Kingsway is an important channel for pulling the dragon chi into GW city.
Therefore, the central car park is a very important site for Feng Shui and is what is called the “ming tang” – the mouth of chi entry.
Keeping it open and green, and moving sustains the chi flows in GW. Hence for the GW Chinese community, there are 2 options for the central car park redevelopment – (a) do nothing (continues to remain an open space car park), or (b) advocate for a green open space with outdoor recreation activities ( see the community’s John Monash Multicultural Square (JMMS) Proposal 16 Dec 2015)
The worst option is like Council’s proposal, to increase high rise and compact buildings in the area, and blocking part of Kingsway in front of the Ikon Building.
This Council proposal will destroy GW’s ming tang, hence cut off good feng shui in the area. The consequences affect the future wealth, health and well being prosperity of those living and owning businesses in the area. For shoppers & customers, they would reduce their visits, because of potential future inconveniences, such as traffic and car parking problems, and other ill social activities in the area.
For Ikon residents and investors, the worst is yet to come. Presently, the Ikon building is considered a bad feng shui dwelling, because of its back facing the end of the GW railway line. It is a building whose back is constantly charged with and stores attacking sha (bad) feng shui energy every time a train terminates there. The feng shui consequences translate to residents, tenants and owners constantly exposed to life challenges, especially renting and investment issues. As such, to the Chinese community, it is not surprising that low occupancy and difficulty in reselling apartments currently prevail, including brewing risks of pop up brothels and drug parties / trafficking activities as many of its apartments are being rented out to short term tenants such as Airbnb.
The council’s proposal redevelops the central car park with high rise and compact developments, together with Cr Lake’s 2012 election wish of having a new library in front of the Ikon building. The proposal also recommends closing Kingsway in front of the Icon building.
This road closure potentially brings the worst feng shui to Ikon inhabitants and traders.
Because road systems represent waterways, the Kingsway road closure will result in decaying or dying “water” energy (called shi chi) in the area. For Ikon residents, they would be sandwiched with constant bad feng shui from the back, and dying feng shui in the front. For other people in GW, the good dragon chi flowing along Springvale Road is blocked from entering into GW. Shi chi effects can potentially translate to unethical or criminal human activities such as pop up brothels in high rise apartments, increase in local drug trafficking and other dark activities, such as money laundering. Airbnb being a major tenant in Ikon is perhaps linked to this Feng Shui implication. Future popularity of the new library/community hub would be compromised by this potentially permanent bad feng shui prevalence.
Other coming high rise developments, without Council identifying and preparing for services that would mitigate future infrastructure and amenity issues, let alone ill socio-economic impacts (eg brothels, etc), are part of the future effects of bad feng shui arising from the blockage of GW’s primary ming tang, which currently pulls in and contributes to the good dragon energy in GW.
The Underpinning City Planning and Governance Issues:
Good or bad feng shui of city developments correlate and translate to the quality of city planning and implementation management performance.
This GW feng shui analysis shows a first symptom of the reactive and lack of a holistic system thinking approach in council’s city planning and even implementation decision making:
- All the structural plans lack liveability impact analysis details, from socio, economic and environment perspectives, missing in clarity and outcome-measures of future infrastructure and amenity requirements that would assure GW residents and businesses high quality liveability.
- The planning information is solely from a conceptual architecture/design perspective, which are being translated into ad hoc specifications for inserts in planning schemes. There is no clear and detailed design implementation planning and risk management details, already allowing Councillors to make piecemeal and ill-informed decisions in 2015 that often breach some the specifics of these structural plans and before these structural plans’ specifications are officially incorporated into the next update of Council’s planning scheme (which has not been approved by state planners).
- The lack of socio, economic and environmental risk management in council’s city planning and even in past council’s decisions also demonstrates the prevalence of poor social responsibility and governance accountability in city planning and implementation.
These matters can readily open up the opportunities for fostering poor governance and compliance consequences.
We just checked the ex Mayor’s personal blogging website and twitter and he still claims to be the Mayor when the position has been terminated. The question is “are ratepayers paying for two Mayors in Monash Council?” Maybe two heads are better than one?
Not only our Councillors don’t commit to good governance practice in matters of using official Council information on personal website + social media and now this ludicrous claim of having two Mayors in Monash ! Great Mickey Mouse performance Mayors of Monash!
The 2014 performance result of Council is just released – click here for details. Under bad leaders, the Council has gone backwards in its performance during the last 3 years, especially 2014. In any year, the leadership of Councillors, especially the Mayor, is the primary cause of Council’s poor performance. As part of a bad leadership culture, it is easier to blame it on others, which still goes on – see Council official response to explaining the bad results:
The aged care matter only highlighted what are already growing governance issues in Council’s decision making. If not for the high impact protests, people think that the outcome would be worst – the community pressure at least made Councillors choose a buyer that is non for profit and not for the highest bidder, as originally would have happened as money was the reason for selling. The experience for the first Clarinda aged care facility sold did not have a good outcome for the aged residents, because the community were unaware and did not respond to the sale decision. Councillors thought selling the Monash & Elizabeth aged care facilities would be a piece of cake, but the consequences turned otherwise. The community did not disfavor the decision to sell, provided there was a business case and if community participation in decision making was fostered.
No instead, the Mayor and Councillors refused to disclose the business case (because they have not considered all other options and hence there is no business case); closed too many decision point meetings that raises too many transparency issues and their community engagement behaviours and actions were not sincere and were terse. Simply put, the aged care matter only magnified the real causes of Council’s performance issues – ie lack of good governance values in Council’s leadership behaviors, community engagement and decision making – the evidence revealed in the community’s report – Poor Governance by Monash Council 16 Jan 2014. Poor leadership is another main cause. The aged care incident only manifested the symptoms that reveal about our city leadership quality and how Councillors govern decision making that continues to fail to including community participation; disclosing best value business case, fostering transparent decision discussions; showing unbiased decision making, etc.
Disengaging Council: The Evidence
All Councillors, under the leadership of the prevailing Mayor, are primarily responsible for performance in community consultation and advocacy as they are the front end people who make or break these service levels. However Council staff are more influential in affecting customer service and overall council direction as its their operational and management competencies that sets the service levels in these areas – good compliment to staff. Unfortunately, staff are often collateral damage as a result of Councillors’ leadership and/or organisational incompetence.
Worst Service Performers:
Finally, the truth is out , that Monash Council’s decision making sucks – it commonly known, although Councillors refuse to believe, that their decision making culture fosters biased decision making, often incited by party politics and group-think premeditated directions, lacks best value qualification, transparency and implementation achievement accountability. Keep closing Council meetings and this performance will worsen their performance further and we shall see how many more closed meetings will be advocated by the Mayor this year.
27 May 2014 Council Meeting, item 7.3 : The community has no problems with the Mayor making a motion that slammed the Federal Government for freezing the Financial Assistance Grant for all Councils. He estimated that this federal decision ” impact Monash with a shortfall of $378K over 3 years (estimated increase not allocated 2.5%)” and concluded that the following implications:
24 June Council Meeting, item 7.5: Oops the Mayor while hastily condemned the federal government’s FAG freeze in May, he made a wrong estimate of the impact. He admitted apology and corrected the size of impact:
The Monash community has leadership issues: here we have a Mayor who:
- Reacts to very opportunity that gives him and his ALP peers to attack the opposition party – no wonder we have party and groupthink politics influence this Council’s decision making, not in the interest of the community;
- Takes every opportunity as an excuse to justify rates hikes, hoping there is sufficient build up excuses to ask for more than 6% (don’t forget we have a very financial healthy Council will more than 150% working capital ratio and between $23 million to $44.5 million of unrestricted cash for the next 4 years). Remember he said the same thing about funeral mourners who won the court case not to pay parking fines when the Council brought them to court);
- Doesn’t get his facts right when making decision – as a Mayor this is NO excuse, hence the apology is not acceptable as the community of Monash deserves highly competent leaders as Mayor (and Councillors) – this signals a lot about the quality of Mayoralty leadership in the city.
The quality of his leadership is summarized in the poor Council’s 2014 performance: