Posts Tagged Misconduct

Monash Council: The School from Hell

Serial BullyingThe ridiculing and gagging standing order for controlling council meetings is not enough for Mayor Lake. He now wants roll calling to be his new black in councillors’ conduct management. Tracking councillors’ attendance is his next level up in bastardising the LG Act’s code of conduct guidelines, of course conveniently through exercising his Mayoralty position.

Everyone knows Mayor Lake is certainly gearing up for the Council Elections, evident in his recent and growing use of the press, radio interviews and council resources (website), to broadcast disparaging remarks about two RollcallLiberal Councillors he personally disperses. By publicising their names, it is a no brainer that Mayor Lake’s aim is to discredit them in an attempt to dissuade constituents from re-electing them in October Council Elections. His hope is that mud sticks – a common low political tactic.

Those of us who have been to Council meetGL3ings know Crs Davies and Zographos care about their community’s views and when they do voice their concerns, commonly Lake lets loose with a tedious verbal onslaught.

If we review past attendances, which are shown at the end of this commentary, we see that ex Cr Paul Klisaris was serially absent but nothing was raised then. Cr Klisaris also claims the highest reimbursement, especially on mobile phone bills and he only announces a council land line number as his telephone contact. He also shirt-front Cr Davis and nearly started a physical fight, if not for Cr Perrie and a council staff quickly coming to break up the near fight. Lake just wants to humiliate these two Councillors, and unfortunately the media assists this master manipulator.

 We understand that Cr Lake was on an overseas trip – possibly – but not yet proven – a  “junket”, when he was not present at the (changes to the ) C125 Amendment Council Meeting on 3rd May (but Crs Davies and Zographos were) where submitters could air their views. He had been absent for  the 26th April 2016 Council meeting too. No one can  remember hearing any publically announced apology for his absence on 3rd May. Since Cr Lake was the one who hashed the Council Planners C125 Proposal that had been previously distributed widely to the community, he should have been present to hear the submitters’ arguments against the changes HE HAD MADE to the original document.

 The funny tGLhing is the meetings are far more bearable without Cr Lake present.

The fact is that Mayor Lake revels in dishing out incriminations but cannot accommodate any debate or opposition from others. Hence the unnecessary employment, and cost to Council, of four Wilsons Security Guards for four hours minimum at each Council Meeting; not to mention intermittent Vic Police presence ( a complete inappropriate waste of emergency resources to flatter his ego).

His frequent public behaviors and attention seeking through the media indicate his agenda is to disadvantage non-Labor Councillors who may want to again contest the next council election. When next Lake pursues such a contrived and biased “dirty” media release we hope the press will be more guarded in reporting his spin.

Below are Council Attendances for the past 4 years:


Attendance 1


 Attendance 2


Attendance 3


 Attendance 4







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“Shaddap your face” bullying in Monash Council Meeting

Monash Council is never short of bullies, when it comes to addressing leadership behaviour. The last Council Meeting was certainly the place to witness firsthand tState Electionhe personal attacks fuelled by Cr Lake against Cr Davies. This incident is not the first, however the most intense when Mayor Klisaris reinforced support for Cr Lake by reprimanding Cr Davies and others who dare refute Cr Lake’s viewpoints in decision debates. Even Cr Pontikis, the most community centred Councillor, was asked to “behave”. It was all “shaddap you face”, Joe Dolce style,  to Cr Davies the whole night when he tried to present his views over several decision items. It got to the point the Mayor was asked to vacate his chairing role because he did not comply with meeting protocols, only to return to that role, because the Deputy Mayor was apprehensive to take over and proposed the motion to return the Mayor to continue chairing the meeting.

Behaviour issues concerning biased and undemocratic decision making also raised its ugly head. Cr Lake also blatantly stated that he strongly believe that Councillors should decide planning matters purely based on compliance to Monash Planning Scheme and not addressing the concerns or interests of the community affected by planning decisions. The proposed Monash Housing Strategy puts a blanket all approach in rezoning most of Monash suburbs to be general residential zone. If Cr Lake has its way, this would mean neighbourhoods classified as general residential zones would have to allow opportunistic developers to put as many units or high density dwellings in single land lots because they can show compliance to Monash Planning Scheme. When other Councillors refute his belief, they were quickly reprimanded as behaving inappropriately.

He went further to propose amending a supporting letter to the Andrews Government regarding the Clayton Railway cross and station development. His amendment motion plagiarised “good news” words from the State Government’s media release, while also disrespectfully criticized the previous Government, who are opposition to his political party. Other Councillors have to revise his amendment motion to be more diplomatic in tone, resulting in a decision that is politically driven first before community interests. Cr Lake’s blatant, inappropriate and egoistic behaviour continues to reveal that he has pre-made a decision a week earlier, which  supported Cr Drieberg’s motion to ask MAV advocate to the State Government to continue funding the School Focused Youth Service. This is not unbiased and natural justice based decision making conduct.

Tuesday Council meeting demonstrated the worst conduct performance of this Monash. Public attendees witness first hand a strong groupthink domination and the fostering of continuing bullying and autocratic leadership culture that discourages good governance conduct, transparency , democratic participation and unbiasedness in Council’s decision making. The “shaddap you face” song sums up the vibes of Tues Council Meeting on 31 March 2015.

Monash Ratepayers have lodged a formal complaint and the CEO is addressing the matter.

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VAGO Integrity Guide

As Monash ratepayer advocates, we have the responsibility to monitor integrity in Monash Council and report incidents of maladministration, misconduct and corruption to the appropriate authorities.

Writing such incidents about Council matters and getting the desired results is an art-form, capability developed through a long enduring period of many trial and errors.

One approach is to understand and apply Council’s complaint system (which is fragmented and vague); the Local Government Inspectorate, the Victorian Ombudsman and the Independent Broad based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), and other parties in Victoria’s integrity system:

Reproduced from VAGO Guide, Safeguarding Integrity, Figure 2, Page 6

The Victorian Auditor General Office (VAGO) has released a guide to the integrity system in Victoria (called Safeguarding Integrity) which gives deeper insights into to recognise misconduct and corrupt conduct and know what to do about it. It is a guide worth reading, to enhance your complaint writing about any government agency, including local government.

One highlight is the definition of behaviours relating to maladministration, misconduct and corruption, summarized below:

Reproduced from VAGO Report, Safeguarding Integrity, Figure 4, Page 16

Use this VAGO Guide in addition to the complaint guidelines given by the party you are lodging the complaint to.

For a pdf copy of this post, click here.

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