There is a high level of public concern about probity and integrity issues, particularly around the acting GM’s contract. Firstly, in my opinion it is not a storm in a tea cup and it’s not OK to break the rules, intentionally or otherwise. When under pressure we can be too focused on a task to the extent that we may close our eyes to what is more important. So what is more important, what does probity, ethics and good governance mean and what can be done to promote the standard expected?
An effective way to understand probity is to think of the principles of honesty, ethical conduct and a transparent process. There is a clear connection between the concepts of probity and ethics. Ethics is concerned about what is right, fair, just or good about what we ought to do, not just about what is the case or what is most acceptable or expedient. For individuals, probity is about understanding the limits of their authority and acting within those limits.
We failed to ensure proper process was followed, as councillors we now need to understand why. Do we have the correct governance policies and framework at an organisational level in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again or is it simply a case of implementation and a commitment to making them work, or are we simply not aspiring to the highest of values.
We as a council need to ensure that everyone in the organisation heeds to a higher level of probity and ethics and accountability. I am pleased that council supported a motion that a report from the mayor regarding the preparation and implementation of the acting GMs contract is tabled to better understand what went wrong and why, and most importantly that it doesn’t happen again.