1 AUBURN COUNCIL REPORTS TO THE EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF COUNCIL TO BE HELD IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, CIVIC PLACE, 1 SUSAN STREET, AUBURN ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2008 COMMENCING AT 9.30PM OR AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE SCHEDULED ORDINARY MEETING INDEX Receipt of Apologies 337/08 Disclosure of Interests ................................................................................................................. 2 338/08 Calling of Extraordinary Meeting ............................................................................................. 3 2 AUBURN COUNCIL August 6, 2008 General Manager’s Report To the Extraordinary Meeting of Council 337/08 Disclosure of Interests C-28-07/04 JB The provisions of Chapter 14 of the Local Government Act, 1993 regulate the way in which Councillors and nominated staff of Council conduct themselves to ensure that there is no conflict between their private interests and their public trust. The Act prescribes that where a member of Council (or a Committee of Council) has a direct or indirect financial (pecuniary) interest in a matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council (or Committee), that interest and the reasons for declaring such interest must be disclosed as soon as practicable after the start of the meeting. As members are aware, the provisions of the Local Government Act restrict any member who has declared a pecuniary interest in any matter from participating in the discussions or voting on that matter and further require that the member vacate the Chamber. Council’s Code of Conduct provides that if members have a non-pecuniary conflict of interest, the nature of the conflict must be disclosed. The Code also provides for a number of ways in which a member may manage non pecuniary conflicts of interest. RECOMMENDATION That where necessary any Councillor now disclose any interest and the reason for declaring such interest in the matters under consideration by Council at this meeting. 3 AUBURN COUNCIL August 6, 2008 Director's Report To the Extraordinary General Meeting of Council Business and Finance Department 338/08 Calling of Extraordinary Meeting JB:CH The meeting has been called pursuant to Section 366 of the Local Government Act, 1993 in response to a joint request from Councillors Campbell, Curtin and Zraika by notation dated 24th July 2008 to the Mayor formally requested the calling of an Extraordinary Meeting to consider the following: 1. Has the request by Councillors T. Zreika at 2 July 2008, Council’s Meeting to have the Department of Local Government investigate the “leaking” of an Interim Confidential Draft Report been acted upon? If so what has been the outcome of any discussions that have taken place between the Department and Council Management. If so what is the position of the Department regarding this serious infringement of the Local Government Act 1993? 2. Regardless of the above has any investigation been commenced by the General Manager to ascertain who “leaked” information contained to the Interim Confidential Draft report to the Sydney Morning Herald and the Turkish News Weekly? This is the second accession that a confidential report has been leaked to the press the last being to the Daily Telegraph. These leaks should be treated as a matter of the highest priority by this Council. 3. How many copies of the Interim Confidential report were circulated and who were the recipients of those reports. 4. Is the General Manager aware of the article appearing in the Auburn Review Pictorial on the 22 July, 2008, which states “The Review understands the report was leaked to Fairfax by a Senior Staff Member”. What action has been taken to determine if that report is true or otherwise? 5. Leaking of confidential reports are a very serious matter that brings Council and Staff into disrepute. The Department of Local Government could quite justifiably question the integrity and creditable of this Council to maintain confidentiality. Those responsible (if identified) for this conduct should be dealt with under the appropriate legislation. 6. In view of the leaking of the contents of the Interim Draft Confidential report into Auburn Central the Department of Local Government be approached as soon as possible and be requested as a matter of priority have the report completed and presented to Parliament as soon as practicable, so that all aspects of the inquiry can be viewed by Council, Councillors and staff. The final report should be placed on public exhibition. 7. Interim draft confidential reports are just what they state they are Interim and not in a anyway finalised. They are given to responsible people to make comments on allegations that have been made about their conduct. Their comments are then taken into consideration before finalisation of those reports. 8. During the Auburn Central investigation how many of the relevant files to that investigation went missing and have those files been recovered? 9. Any resolutions and other relevant matters that may emanate from the above issues? 4 AUBURN COUNCIL August 6, 2008 Director's Report To the Extraordinary General Meeting of Council Business and Finance Department Auburn Central - Questions (Cont'd) 10. We are of the view that if the Department fails to act in relation to these “leakes” the matter should be referred to ICAC, and NSW Police for their investigation. Note by General Manager The following information is provided in relation to the issues as listed above:- Statement 1 - Council has written to the Department in respect of the matter and has not received any formal response. Statement 2 - The General Manager has not undertaken any investigation and is awaiting advise from the Department of Local Government. Staff are not aware of any reports in the Daily Telegraph. Statement 3 - All Councillors received a copy of the Draft Report as did relevant staff. Council’s legal advisers and insurance legal advisers also received a copy. Statement 4 - Discussions have been held with the Review after the publication of the article. The Author has informed the General Manager he will not reveal his source but has confirmed with others the source as a Councillor. Senior Staff have sought legal advice in respect of the comments. Statement 5 - In correspondence issued with the Draft report Councillors were informed of the need to maintain confidentiality. Staff were also advised of the confidentiality provisions consistent with the advice provided to Councillors. Statement 6 - The Department have been requested to expedite the release of the final report. Statement 8 - At least 10 series of files have been removed and they have not been recovered. Council have previously been advised these files have been removed. The loss of the files has been reported to the ICAC and Department of Local Government.