‘Absolute powder keg’ in inquiry report

Discredited former Toodyay Shire CEO Stan Scott (left) and former shire president Brian Rayner, who failed to control reckless spending and still sits on the council.

Councillor accuses new CEO of ‘half-arsed’ response to report recommendations

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

FORMER CEO Stan Scott has been slammed for financial mismanagement, failures under local government law, conflict of interest and unethical conduct in 14 of 25 adverse findings against the Shire of Toodyay tabled in State Parliament last month.

A report on a 20-month State Government inquiry also says shire councillors failed to comply with local government regulations when they voted 9-0 in 2013 to sue two former civic leaders in a botched WA Supreme Court case that cost ratepayers $550,000 in lost legal fees.

Councillors were also castigated for failing to properly manage the former CEO’s behaviour and actions over a seven-year period examined by the inquiry.

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Young families grab their togs to make historic splash in Toodyay’s long-awaited new pool

There was plenty for young families to celebrate in the wading pool (above) on the first day of swimming last month at Toodyay’s new Aquatic Centre near the town’s high school. The pool complex and kiosk is part of Toodyay’s new $14 million sport and recreation centre which the Shire of Toodyay will officially open at a public ceremony starting at 10.30am on Saturday November 21. The event will feature visiting sports stars, VIP guest speakers, an official ribbon cutting ceremony and plaque unveiling, a Toodyay Locals Care sausage sizzle to raise funds for local charity and ice cream and coffee vans.

Above: Local historian Milton Baxter was the first swimmer to dive into Toodyay’s new public pool last month. RIGHT: The deep end was a bit chilly at 9am but the pool is expected to be heated by July next year. 

 

There’ll be plenty of this in the warm months ahead.

 

Years of chronic shire mismanagement exposed in damning State findings

Discredited former Toodyay Shire CEO Stan Scott (right) breached the shire code of ethics when he berated newly elected Cr Di Granger “in a hostile manner” at a council meeting behind closed doors in January 2018 while former shire president Brian Rayner (left), who still sits on the council, “failed to bring him to order”. Cr Granger quit the council two months later.

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

MORE than half of a State Governmment inquiry’s 25 adverse findings on the Shire of Toodyay show that former CEO Scott (above, right) mismanaged shire finances and resources, failed to follow State regulations and breached the shire code of conduct with condescending and offensive behaviour.

The report also said previous councils – including under former shire president Brian Rayner who still sits on the council – had failed as an employer under local government law to conduct the relationship towards Mr Scott as that of an employee.

The report details Mr Scott’s role in four botched court cases that cost ratepayers more than $670,000 in legal fees, much of it to a firm that employed the former CEO’s son.

It said the shire “failed to adopt a policy to give guidance and direction to the CEO on matters concerning litigation on behalf of the council”.

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Heated pool to operate all year

Surprise announcement as lifeguards sought for planned November 1 start to town’s first summer swim season

Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst addresses a community meeting at Toodyay’s new recreation centre to announce that the town’s new swimming pool will be heated and open all year. 

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

TOODYAY’S long-awaited public swimming pool will be heated in winter to enable it to stay open all year under surprise new plans announced this month by recently appointed venue manager Clublinks.

The company says it aims for swimmers to start using the pool on or before Sunday November 1 if construction finishes in time.

Lighting towers from China have been installed and site work is largely complete.

However, the company has issued a “priority” call for people to apply for jobs as lifeguards to enable the pool to open on a full schedule seven days a week as planned.

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Minister gets final report on Toodyay inquiry findings

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

A REPORT on a long-running State Government inquiry into the Shire of Toodyay has been finalised and sent to WA Local Government Minister David Templeman for action.

The Minister is expected to table the inquiry’s findings in State Parliament on one of nine scheduled sitting days left this year, starting on Tuesday October 13 and ending November 19 before parliament rises for its summer recess.

An 11-month probe last year by three State Government investigators from Perth examined the operations and affairs of shire administrators and councillors over a seven-year period to December 2018.

The shire was headed during that period by former CEO Stan Scott (above, left) who resigned last April after taking two months extended sick leave at short notice just hours before the start of the council’s February meeting.

Three remaining councillors who served during the seven-year inquiry period are former shire president Brian Rayner (above, right), former shire deputy president Therese Chitty and Cr Paula Greenway.

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State Governor pardons Moondyne Joe

 

Notorious local bushranger Moondyne Joe (Greg Warburton) begs for clemency and receives a Royal Pardon after ambushing WA Governor Kim Beazley near Toodyay Railway Station during a low-key Vice-Regal visit this month to promote Avon Valley regional tourism.

WA Governor Kim Beazley made an unannounced visit to Toodyay this month as part of a low-key Vice-Regal tour of the Avon Valley to promote regional tourism.

Mr Beazley, who earned the nickname “Bomber” for his love of all things military while Labor federal defence minister from 1984 to 1990, also visited Beverley, York, Northam and Chittering.

Toodyay was his last stop, and he joined a small entourage of local civic representatives and Vice-Regal staff on the town’s historic Convict Depot walk from the Visitor Centre to Newcastle Gaol Museum.

On a return trip via the Duke Street railway footbridge he called at the Christmas shop, Uniquely Toodyay and bakery.

Toodyay was the last stop of the tour and when asked what the Governor thought of our town, a local civic leader said “he loved it”.

 

Unusually dry soil index points to high-risk fire season

By Rob Koch
Community Emergency Services Manager (left)

A DRY winter means that parts of our shire are now already as dry as last summer as we approach what is expected to be a high-risk fire season.

Low rainfall and the onset of warmer weather means conditions will continue to become even drier at a faster rate than is normal at this time of the year.

This assessment is measured by a ‘soil dryness index’ which correlates to the flammability of vegetation.

Less moisture in the ground means the vegetation above will burn faster and more intensely.

That’s why it is essential for everyone in the shire to comply with the prohibited burning period that will apply from Sunday November 1, and current burning restrictions which began at the start of this month.

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