The Ararat Rural City Council failed comprehensively to act in the interest of the Municipality on some of the most important functions of any council; namely, the rating strategy, community engagement, the termination of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), appointment of an interim CEO and fulfilling its budgetary obligations.
These failures were due to poor governance practices by councillors and senior staff.
Accordingly, the Commission of Inquiry into the Ararat Rural City Council (the Commission) recommends the appointment of a monitor to ensure councillors address their responsibilities for formulating strategy and policy and maintaining high standards of good governance.
The Commission also recommends that the minister recommends to the Mayor of Ararat Rural City Council the appointment of an independent rating strategy advisory group with a non-voting Chair with knowledge of local government rating and representatives of key groups of rate payers with voting rights.
The Commission also recommends that the minister recommends to the Mayor of Ararat Rural City Council the appointment of an external interim CEO for an extended period to enable restructure of the organisation to put it on a contemporary footing consistent with its obligations to provide effective and efficient service delivery, sound financial and asset management and good governance.