Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Bob Hawkins

Passion in the raw down Huon way. SACKED! Taylor is Commissioner …

*Pic: The Mercury front page, September 21

FRIDAY, October 7 …

Mercury: Former Glenorchy mayor and Elwick MLC Adriana Taylor new Commissioner of Huon Valley Council … “At the end of that period, the Government will decide whether to extend the Commissioner’s contract or to call fresh elections.” …

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Now that the council is sacked, a commissioner can delve deeply into the administrative entrails of HVC. I think there is far more to find there than you would ever be able to find out about the individual actions of all nine sacked councillors. Expect a steady roll-out out of places to look, and matters to consider, over coming weeks. I’m sure the commissioner would welcome contributions from anyone who thinks they have something to say about the performance of their council down the years. In the meantime, I suggest the commissioner starts reading all four-score or so submissions that good people of the Huon made to the Board of Inquiry team. Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if the commissioner had some long, confidential sessions (that is, with no one else present) with the two members of the BoI. It will be a happy day when people can look forward to a brand new council and a brand new management, preferably in tandem with the good people of Kingborough. That would mean massive admin and operational savings and, more importantly, a severing of the age-old nexus between council and certain valley interests.

Peter Gutwein: Appointment of a Commissioner of the Huon Valley Council

THURSDAY, October 6 …

ABC: Peter Gutwein completes troubled Huon Valley Council’s dismissal

Labor: Disappointing result in the Huon Valley

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: #19. That’s a great basis on which to start the future of LG in the HV. Most importantly, we must remember — now that Gutwein has sacked the councillors — that the commissioner makes it a main task to assemble a completely new senior management team to complete the clean-out. I’m pointing no fingers. It’s just that LG in the Huon, whether on its own or, preferably amalgamated with Kingborough, re-starts with a completely clean sheet — new councillors and new management — so that no one, not even the chief stirrer for new elections (and eternal but forever unsuccessful mayoral aspirant) will have anything to complain about.

Peter Gutwein: Huon Valley Council This morning at a meeting of the Executive Council, I recommended to Her Excellency the Governor that she dismiss the Huon Valley Council. Her Excellency agreed to that request and I have today written to each of the Huon Valley Councillors informing them of that decision. This is not something that the Government takes lightly, but this is an appropriate response to a very serious situation …

SEPTEMBER 28 …

Huon Valley Guessing Games Roll up, roll up! It may be your last chance to witness what normally is one of the most excruciatingly boring shows on earth. Venue: Huonville council chamber at 6pm Wednesday (September 28); starring: a dysfunctional, about-to-be-sacked, Huon Valley Council.

As usual, on one side, will be the majority, mired-in-the-past Heart of the Huon team; on the other, a disparate, but never disrespectful, trio of light. For a change, possibly motivated by a will for survival, the Heart may not be its usual uncompromising self. Laying down the rules, and providing “qualified advice”, will be a public-service GM favoured by a heavily biased Local Government Act.

The outcome of the meeting? That’s probably as obscure as the doubt and dithering that have characterised Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein’s decision-making since June, when he was handed his board of inquiry’s final report that declared HVC dysfunctional and beyond mediation. At first, Gutwein dodged what should have been inevitable by choosing to ignore the BoI report, opting instead for the totally not recommended mediation route.

Even though Mayor Peter Coad gave mediation a good go, he soon found himself back in the firing line. First, General Manager Simone Watson, in an August 11 special meeting report to council, declared him guilty of 15 cases of non-compliance with Gutwein’s Ministerial Direction No. 3; then, on August 31, he was denied the right to sit on any council committee, even as an ex-officio (or, as I’m fairly certain I heard Cr Paz Ruzicka say, “aficionado”) member.

How could anyone consider mediation in the face of such hostility — from management and fellow councillors? So, finally publicly acknowledging the mediation process (approved by the majority Heart of the Huon group and organised by management) was a farce, Coad pulled the plug. He was soon followed by Crs Ian Mackintosh and Liz Smith (each for their own reasons).

Thus, Gutwein was faced with a situation he had threatened earlier would leave him no option but to sack council’s elected members.

So, in State Parliament on September 20, he declared he would have to do just that. Well, sort of. In reality, he had again cunningly conjured up yet another way of putting off what he obviously doesn’t want to do: which is to sack the council. His delaying tactic this time was to give the councillors one last chance — just one last chance.

As I understand it, each councillor (depending how she or he is inclined) has until September 30 to write to the minister and tell him why he shouldn’t boot them all out and appoint an administrator. This letter-writing invitation gives the Heart team one last chance to caucus — to decide on the best way to convince Gutwein — before it loses its meaning for being.

Gutwein’s decree caused much angst, anxiety, gnashing of teeth, blame-gaming, even hysteria, especially on the part of the long-serving Cr Mike Wilson. He was soon telling ABC, and any media that wanted to quote him, that he had given his life to the valley, and that the Gutwein announcement had left him “gutted”. (Within a couple of days, one Mercury reader opined that there were plenty in the Huon keen to get their hands on a garter.)

From my observation point, Wilson’s outburst was over the top, especially coming from one of the leading players in a two-year melodrama that has left HVC in a sad pickle. Now it’s had its formal performance review — and it has failed miserably.

The Mercury quoted Deputy Mayor Ian Paul sheeting home the blame to “certain councillors”. Paul, I am certain, knows exactly who those councillors are. He might also have someone else in mind.

Wilson seems to have been frantically casting around for a lifeline. He would seek an urgent meeting with Gutwein, he said. And he wanted new elections within four months. What for? Simply to get the same line-up again around the council table; and for the Heart to be able to continue its vendetta against a mayor, who, if he should chose to stand again, could expect an even bigger vote? Wilson also seems to have been hoping for a get-together of councillors to seek a compromise course that would satisfy Gutwein. The trio of light — Coad, Mackintosh and Smith — would be insane to accept any compromise offered by their foes, even if it were heart-felt.

If Gutwein finally manages to wriggle his way to preserve an intact council, it would be a travesty of justice. Huon Valley Council is a disaster today, and has been for years. Why it was not investigated sooner is a mystery. That things have got worse can, perhaps, be measured by the chaos that has been council’s human-resources division these past three years. It’s experienced a total turnover — and when HR is a mess, it’s usually a sign that the rest of the organisation is likewise.

What it is that made Gutwein so reluctant to take the advice of his BoI remains a mystery. Words like forestry, Duggan, woodchips, fish, Armstrong, biomass, Harriss, barges, jetties, exports (plus a mix of other pie-in-the-sky speculation), have been flying around for yonks in the cargo-cult cocoon that occupies a substantial chunk of Huon society. Could any of these have anything to do with the quandary with which Gutwein wrestles?

And where’s Premier Will Hodgman? The Huon, for goodness’ sake, is his electorate. Surely, if only behind the scenes, he is putting in his two-bob’s worth. Or is he playing the hands-off premier role and letting Gutwein think through the awful mess all by himself.

HVC is a can of worms, its lid barely half open. Here’s hoping Gutwein’s final ploys to dodge having to bring down the axe have been exhausted. Only then will it be possible to get the lid fully off and have a close look at what’s inside. That, of course, will only be possible if politics plays no part in Gutwein’s selection of administrator (the Act uses “commissioner”), and that he or she is recruited outside of Tasmania.

Whither the future? If Kingborough will have us, let’s hope the Huon Valley municipality will become a component of the super council mooted in a September 24 Mercury article. But there was something a bit spooky about the way Alexandra Humphries made not one mention of the Huon in her story. Surely, as well as two super southern Tasmanian councils, we’re not still going to have a Huon clowncil after the Hodgman Government has muddled its way through its long-vaunted local government-reform vision?

A way must be found to break the nexus between our council and the woe-is-us cargo culture that has characterised our valley for so long. If that nexus is to be broken, amalgamation seems the only sure option.

Wednesday evening in the Huonville council chamber will be an historic moment. Never, since the amalgamation of councils in 1993 has a Tasmanian council met in public in the knowledge that it was about to be sacked. For most regulars in the public gallery, it will be a moment for celebration. But it’s still not certain whether — despite the obvious irreparable dysfunction that ravages HVC — Gutwein will have the ticker to make good his threat in mid-October.

Wilson’s demeanour at the council table will make for special interest. Make sure you’re there to see it. We might even witness a stirring emotional speech or two. Wilson once stressed to me that he is “passionate about the Huon Valley”. Even as a blow-in, I share that passion about one of nature’s most beautiful and bountiful valleys. It’s just that our notions on how to make our passion work in the best interests of the valley bear little or no resemblance to each other’s.

Bob Hawkins has been covering Huon Valley Council for Tasmanian Times since early 2009. He is a friend of Cr Smith, and an admirer of Mayor Coad for doggedly trying to bring reason to a dysfunctional council.

THURSDAY …

Mercury: Councillors heckled from public gallery in tense meeting

Geoffrey Swan, Lonnavale: More confirmation of dysfunction at tonight’s HVC council meeting … Since posting my comment in Tasmania Times I have heard from others who manipulated the survey data. I can now confirm that in excess of 102 of the survey results, complete with one line comments were completed by only 7 people – and 2 live in Hobart. Therefore 27% of the survey is CORRUPT DATA – and that is only from people with whom I have personally been in contact. How is it possible that Cr’s Wilson, Paul, Lange, Ruzicka and Heron can agree to accept the data as being of any future use whatsoever? …

MERCURY SATURDAY, October 1 …

Probe into Glenorchy Council tape

• Robin Charles Halton in Comments: … Eventually Peter Gutwein will have to sack the Huon Council, the longer he leaves it the worse it will get. It seems the Liberal government are stuck in the past too!

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68 Comments

68 Comments

  1. Trish Kyne

    October 21, 2016 at 1:18 am

    So, Mr Johnson, Your comment about amalgamation (Irrespective it is not on the cards for the next period as instructed to the commissioner) is interesting; inside knowledge here?

    The commissioner stated she was looking forward and not back. We have not been given any specific information regarding her brief in the valley.

    If her year is to be spent just keeping the seat warm – the whole investigation, and sacking council at great expense to the taxpayers of Tasmania – has been a totally pointless exercise.

    It’s about time Tasmanians grew a back bone and insisted on a fair go. After all, they are all Australians.

  2. Geoffrey Swan

    October 20, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Mr Ivanoski.. (AKA Petar Johnson)… I listened to your Huon FM phone interview of today and I am trying to keep an open mind… but I still keep coming back to what is your motivation, who are you and where have you been during the past 12+ months; during which time our popularly elected Mayor has been struggling against all manner of obstacles to bring about the much needed change you appear to be espousing.

    And who comprises the royal “we” you keep referring to.

    Here are some grabs for those readers who did not hear you on radio:

    “We’ve commenced a process of dialogue with a lot of people around the valley….there has been a lot of interest in the upcoming forum….on the impact to the Council changes”

    “A lot of residents are really starting to engage….There has been a diversity of people..”

    “It’s just the Geeveston Community centre so hopefully we are not going to overflow it…”

    “We’ve just actually been working in a bit of a working group (sic) to figure out what is a good facilitative mechanism and we’ve come up with Huon Barter exchange… to commence before the end of year.”

    (Is a Barter scheme your prime motivation?)

    “With the amount of interest we’ve had… there’s been a dialogue on the bulletin board with some 45 contributions..”

    I’ve been looking at your website I can see no evidence of 45 contributions – at best I see only your name and posts by you… are you perhaps stretching the truth just as little sir?

    And perhaps the most uninformed comment which I note you chosen not to correct… was the interviewer suggesting the Administrator is the up and coming replacement Mayor.. it is comments like this that do no justice to transparency and moving forward.

    And again I strongly suggest – get rid of the union mob pic on the front page of your web site unless of course this is the intent of your approach.

  3. petar johnson

    October 20, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    DeR Geoffrey,

    I have no opinion as trustee on resource sharing with kingsborough. But i do have the opinion that the analysis needs to be credible, on strong commercial terms and in our interest.

    I have explained why a merger should be avoided.

    Irrespective it is not on the cards for the next period as instructed to the commissioner.

  4. Trish Kyne

    October 20, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    #64: During past council meetings the buzz words of ‘good governance’ and ‘transparency’ were tossed around to preface statements that demonstrated the complete lack of understanding of what those words meant when actioned.

    ‘Self-determination’ appears to be one of those buzz words. The valley needs representatives on council, which they can trust to listen to the people that voted them in. That means the candidates need to be educated in areas that bring a particular expertise to council debate and decisions; and leave their own agendas and personal aspirations in the cupboard. For the valley residents to achieve self-determination, the truth is, unless the residents have candidates that listen to them and examines all view points, the council will remain in the hands of business interests.

    Your dialogue has also changed the focus from ‘Petar Johnson’ to ‘the trust view is’ revealing the first glimmer of the faceless, and probable financial supporters of this enterprise.

    The reason many residents approve of at least discussing resource sharing with the neighbouring council, is the opportunity to ensure that council decisions are overlooked by independent people, who will make the most fiscally viable and responsible decisions for all the community. Maintaining the valley as a closed shop and calling it ‘self-determination’, while the puppet-masters maintain a strangle hold on fiscal decisions, will not deliver the future the residents and their children deserve.

    The only point I agree on is that this is a make or break time for the valley. Pulling on heart strings and declaring the ‘trusts view is to fix the council’ and deliver ’employment’ immediately sends up a red balloon. How do outsiders ‘fix’ government departments? Why would a trust be required in the first place? Community consultation can be done well without the benevolent godfather approach.

    Minister Gutwein has brought in a number of changes, which include the Good Governance guide; the independent Code of Conduct committee; and the targeted review of the local government act. That happened as a result of the representations made to his office by citizens of Tasmania. Putting a ‘trust’ between the citizens and their recourse to government would hand personal choice to the ‘trust’. That’s not self determination.

    For those of you who don’t travel the road to Dover, the road works for the bypass actually began before the item came to council for approval. The bituminised road work has also been extended from the Huon Highway into the gates of the forestry road exits. We have had a sprinkle of forestry related stories in the local newspaper, and announcements made about annual general meetings without and hint at who is on those committees.

    I don’t believe in coincidence or good fairies.

  5. Geoffrey Swan

    October 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Why do you continue to avoid the questions Mr Johnson…

    1. To clarify exactly how Petar Johnson seemingly came from “nowhere”.

    2. What is your “real” motivation against exploring amalgamation or resource sharing?

    3. Why did we not see your face at any of the HVC Council meetings in the past 12+ months?

    I am far from convinced… Mr Ivanoski.

  6. petar johnson

    October 20, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Rosie.

    Good sounds like we are on the same page. There is nothing further that i can say in words here that can appease the unfounded concerns.

    To get to know me further listen in to grapevines this morning on community radio today.

    Come to the meeting.

    Or if you and your friends want to get together for a chat to assess how these things can be progressed in the huon valley i would welcome the opportunity.

    I absolutely refute that i have had any dialogue with a ex councellor who may be circulating notice of the geeveston meeting. If they are great..but it is not with the trusts sanction.

    The issue in merging is that we would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Local governance and self determination is a precedent to sustainable communities. We loose this, we loose our future self determination for ours and future generations. A few dollars now for lifetimes of foreign rule for future generations and us. The trusts view is fix the council and make it work for the community. An efficient, smart, skillfull council is the pathway to effective community led development for the huon. To loose this opportunity at this time will be an enduring failure of the Huon valley community.

  7. Rosie Craske

    October 19, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Mr. Petar Johnson.

    My comments are made on behalf of a group of friends, who all share a vision for the Huon; a strong economy, much better employment opportunities, a full Council makeover and a vibrant sustainable future for us all.

    We welcome change for the Huon, and endorse the innovative ideas Mr. Johnson is proposing in his comments and new community website.

    The potential benefits of Local Government Reform are also important, and our Council should continue talks with Kingborough on the merits of Resource Sharing or Amalgamation.

    The objective is not to “bring anyone down”, as claimed, but simply to clarify exactly how Petar Johnson seemingly came from “nowhere”, to be involved in Huon Valley Community affairs.

    This is a simple question of transparency, and a straight answer will reinforce Mr. Johnson’s credentials, and provide reassurance for all concerned about the future of the Huon Valley.

    Rosie Craske.
    Cygnet. TAS.

  8. Richard Samuels

    October 18, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Have taken a look and registered. Looks good and will come along.

    A forum to get some information and dialogue from an independent body is a good start. Will be interesting how locals see the change.
    I want to know the action plan of the xnew commissioner.

    Those that are trying to put it down have something to lose. Don’t worry about it Petar. You’ll get a throng of locals that don’t understand much try to undermine any initiative in the valley..that’s why the valley is so mismanaged.

  9. Petar Johnson

    October 18, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Rosie.

    All that you need to know is already on the website and the efforts I have put in answering questions to date. If you have something to contribute come to the meeting. If you don’t then don’t come.. Who is this we?..I presume you are speaking as self appointed Huon royalty unless I hear otherwise.

    Why try to stifle change..as it has already come.. Make a community contribution in your own way. By the way mrs craske who are you?

  10. Unconvinced

    October 18, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    I agree #Rosie.
    I don’t believe anyone just picks a spot and decides this will be the recipient of their largessE without some ties or knowledge of the area.

    As the Huon Valley has been run as a ‘closed shop’ with non-valley born people shunned wherever possible, in my opinion Mr Johnson aka Ivanovski would require extensive ties in the valley or have been anointed by local business interests. If local business interests are behind this, what’s in it for them?

    Then there is the strong message ‘No Amalgamation’ which is about keeping the valley a closed shop and protecting local interests, rather than the fiscal returns of resource sharing which could return so many benefits to the community. I do not believe that this is a stance anyone would take on their own initiative.

    It appears that a recent now ex-former Cr did a letter drop with information about this group. The letter drop was done in Cygnet, for the advertised meeting in Geeveston. This was not the former Cr that Mr Johnson acknowledged crossing paths with at the radio station.

    The Community centre at Geeveston – GeCo – has a government grant for a youth unemployment scheme up and running and showing results. Is Mr Johnson unaware of this?

    There is also the access and use of the web site. How many email addresses and what personal information will be captured by that data base? Who has access?

  11. Rosie Craske.

    October 17, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Mr. Petar Johnson (Huon Citizens Council)
    We have reviewed the website for the Huon Citizens Council and it reads extremely well covering many worthwhile ideas that could certainly be of benefit to the Huon Valley.
    However we do need more information about Petar Johnston, the man behind the trust, and the one apparently spending his own money without any obvious chance of a return?
    We have not heard of Mr. Johnson in the two years since the last Council election, but he seems to have suddenly appeared on the scene since the sacking of all HVC Councillors.
    What motivated Mr. Johnson to apply his skills and experience for the benefit of the Huon?
    Why is he spending time and money here, when he appears to have substantial, established and rewarding business interests in Canberra?
    Because Mr. Johnson is not known in the Valley, as residents we now need to know more about this man, and his plans and motivations, before getting actively involved in the organisation.

    Rosie Craske.

  12. petarjohnson

    October 17, 2016 at 11:04 am

    The website domain is http://www.huoncitizenscouncil.com

  13. Petar Johnson

    October 17, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Almost ready for a launch of the website.aiming for the first week of November…does anyone have some time to do a final check of links and any problems they have? It would really be very useful to have a few people test it..;-)

    There is now also a community bulletin board feature to allow follow on – online discussion and collaboration.

    If you do have some time to test the site please let me know your findings. Please also do a mock register for the HuonBarter Exchange and the Bulletin Board and I can delete your account after the test.

    Welcome comments and let me know the username you created if you want me to delete it after the test.

    management@huoncitizenscouncil.com

    Thanks..

  14. Geoffrey Swan

    October 14, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    I concur with, and good to hear from, Sleepless in Franklin.

    Thank you Mr Johnson for responding to my key question of “any link to former Councilors” and I too will take your comments at face value at this time. Any positive uncorrupted contribution towards making our Valley a better place to live, work and succeed is to be commended.

    By way of input, and as you have stated, I have no familial or business links to ex Councilors, or in my case anyone in Tasmania; the very first place to start is to listen to the views and experience of our former Mayor Coad. I believe you will find his well-traveled path and knowledge is without peer.

    You may feel this will cause an immediate divide; however that will only be the view of those protagonists Mayor Coad has been attempting to bring to the fore to account for their actions and possible crimes – past and present.

    And again for the record, based on my personal research and acute observation, he truly does stand for proper governance, honesty and transparency; and he is a person who has already put a substantial amount of his own hard earned on the table for the betterment of us citizens of the Huon Valley.

    You might also contact Liz Smith who attended a “Power to the People” conference in Melbourne in September which Liz described as:

    “The event, about empowering people to make their own neighborhoods more friendly, resilient and successful, was described as “Australia’s only national community engagement conference highlighting innovative ways to create vibrant communities led by active, caring and engaged citizens”

    Another challenge you may face is being labelled (incorrectly or correctly) as being in the “green” camp. This is a common tactic used by many in this Valley against “anyone” who chooses to challenge the ways of the old guard.

    Website is a start – certainly the front page pic of the group meeting is very unappealing and I suggest needs to be changed – unless this is the factional image you are attempting to portray, and loads of spelling mistakes, but then it is a beta site and it affirms your commitment.

    Stay clean in your dealings, be honest and open, rise above the very questionable antics of Wilson, Ruzicka and Paul and good wishes.

    An interesting observation; now that the ruling by Minister Gutwein about communicating with the media has been lifted – we are hearing nothing from the now ex Councilors apart from the ongoing propaganda advertising by Mike Wilson.

    Perhaps time they availed themselves of Tasmanian Times now that they are mere mortals like the rest of us… let us get some debate out in the open…

  15. Sleepless in Franklin

    October 14, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Petar Johnson at #54 – many thanks for your clarifying responses. I take them at face value. I expect that you are able to understand the level of distrust (or at least extreme caution) that has built up in the Huon Valley over quite some time, amongst residents who are genuinely interested in good governance.

    Without having any previous ties to anyone in the valley, my family and I came to this area around the time of the last council elections. One of the first things we saw was Peter Coads’s election posters with the face cut out. As someone who has stood for public office yourself, I imagine you can appreciate more than most the emotional impact and implications of that. “What’s all this?” we thought.

    Over time, it became clear, and the history speaks for itself (or at least it speaks clearly to fair-minded observers).

    If, as you claim, you are non-aligned (and that would hopefully include the current council GM as well as previous councillors, and those business interests that employ petty oligarchies to further their interests) and are advocating change and transparency, I would think you would have little to fear from those here that you label “stone throwers”.

    I know of no evidence of intimidation toward anyone from these people. If you wish to see the ugly face of real intimidation in the Huon Valley, I’d suggest you search Tas Times to appraise yourself of Geoffrey Swan’s experiences in relation to his well-framed environmental criticisms of the Lonnavale HAC salmon hatchery.

    There is cynicism, and there is realism. My default position in seeing an unusual situation (in this case, a trust popping up to collate and represent the views of a community) is always to ask the “cui bono” question – what’s in it for them?

    In this case, apart from what I’m sure everyone hopes is a genuine interest in good governance, I infer that you may eventually run for office again, and/or seek to be across the environmental accreditation of developments in the Huon Valley – and certainly no blame and good luck to you on both counts.

    The website is looking good. The fact that you have the BoI recommendations available as a resource is a plus, as are your comments re HV developments and the impacts of climate change.

  16. Petar Johnson

    October 13, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I engaged as I was hoping to get some ideas and potentially some collaboration to commence a community grassroots dialogue and mobilisation.

    Notwithstanding..

    50#para3: I am not sure where you gathered that my view is that the Huon Valley is not about tourism. I have stated that this industry is severely underdeveloped for the potential bestowed upon us by the world class and deeply important natural environment that we live in. The approach has to be very well considered however to realise local community value and guard against damage to these areas and the natural systems around them.So very smart and low impact tourism is needed with careful enabling of cottage based and mid-size operations.

    50# para 4:Plan to have more sessions in other parts of the Valley. Have to start somewhere.. all ears on suggestions and locations.

    51/1. There is no option to stop anyone standing for council unless they don’t meet the legal requirements. Such a suggestion is fantasy. However their performance in the past needs to be highlighted in order to allow the community to make a decision whether to vote for them or not. They fall or stand on their own sword if the community is informed. It is the information channels that need to be worked on in the Valley.

    42/1: I can confirm that I have not met with or know any of the previous council members. There is no communication between us to date and I do not belong to any organisations that they may belong to ..as far as I am aware. The exception was a single chance meeting with Wilson at the community radio station in Geeveston 2 weeks ago when I advised the radio station of the meeting. It was a 5 minute talk on the forum and the trusts objectives for a community voice. That said I have a view that they are citizens of the Valley and have put themselves in a public position of leadership and should be judged on their capacity to deliver to the community.

    53.. The HuonCitizensCouncil Trust is not a community organisation. It is a non-profit Trust focused on practical facilitation of good governance in the Valley and the delivery of projects that enhance community and environmental wellbeing.

    53/1: The domain is registered at a NSW property to limit retribution, bullying and criminal actions which I or my family may suffer in standing up for citizens rights and sustainable development in the Valley. Yes I do reside in the Valley and own 2 properties in the Valley and do pay rates.

    53/2: The HuonCitizensCouncul Trust objectives force it to engage in community and environmental development in the Valley.

    53/3: Way too much information is sought here..but I will ammeliorate any mafia concerns by advising that I have no interest in a business enterprise with a turnover greater than $100K at this time in the Valley. I have no business partners or share equity of my enterprises with individuals in the Huon Valley at this time.

    53/4: The HuonCitizensCouncil Trust is funded by the Global Environmental Standards Trust. I am the trustee of both of these Trusts and my commercial and personal capital is invested in these entities.

    I am pleased to advise that http://www.huoncitizenscouncil.com is live in Beta with some final edits and checks yet to be completed. Please take a look. Please email me if you have substance to contribute to the agenda and actions if you have affinity with the objectives of the trust.

    On a different note.. I am seeking your ideas and practical mobilisation to aid in the gathering of an organised community vision for governance in the Valley. Trust does not come from words..but actions. In this regard I feel this forum has been not very productive with the exception of Simon’s remarks that I strongly also hold.

    I would also like to see meetings in Dover, Franklin, Hounville, Cygnet before the end of the year and will commence booking venues. Any suggestions for good venues for these locations? Place/name/number please. I intend to book these over the next 2 weeks so please get back to me soon.

    Is anyone able to do anything to commence the community journey..The trust needs:

    – Volunteers for letter drops.
    – Some facilitation through their existing networks to enhance the publicity of the sessions.
    – If you have other technical skills or resources which may be useful.
    – If you would like to address the meeting and have some expertise or understanding of the argument for community led governance then please give me a call. 0477419128 or send me an email at management@huoncitizenscouncil.com any recommended local speakers or leaders would be welcomed with contact details.

    I apologize but I plan to travel in the next 2 weeks so will not be able to monitor this forum readily.

  17. Sleepless in Franklin

    October 13, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Trish Kyne at #50 has succinctly stated the background behind the somewhat understandable mistrust of a purported grassroots “community” organisation which has appeared rather suddenly and without any apparent earlier community presence or involvement.

    This mistrust could be easily assuaged by answers to the following:

    1. Does Mr Petar Johnson live within the Huon Valley community; pay HVC rates and vote? … If so, why, when registering the domain name HUONCITIZENSCOUNCIL.COM did Mr Johnson use an address in country NSW that may just be a block of land, rather than his Huon Valley home address?

    2. If Mr Johnson does NOT live here but has a personal interest for some other reason in governance in the HV, what is that reason?

    3. If Mr Johnson DOES live here, could he declare his community involvement, business interests, clients etc. – so that a reasonable assessment of Huon Citizens Council as a bona fide independent grassroots organisation could be made?

    4. Who has paid so far (or will be billed) for the hard costs involved in setting up this organisation and domain name?

    It would certainly be a good and supportable thing if this group were a fair-minded forum, useful to citizens of the valley, so I’m sure answering these good-faith queries should not be a problem.

  18. Geoffrey Swan

    October 12, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Mr Petar Johnson – such fine words indeed.

    Well done Trish – could not have said this any better.

    Mr Johnson – in the true spirit of transparency and moving forward – can you please respond to my #1 question in #42. I am not judging you – it is simply that like Trish I have also lost all faith.

    I once put my trust in Ernesto Sirolli way back and he failed us. No time for any more games – this is serious stuff for the Valley.

    Mr Johnson – I commend you on your apparent vision – now please assure us you have NO connection with Wilson, Ruzicka, Paul or Ms Watson?

    And breaking news – Mayor Coad’s call for a Judicial inquiry is the only possible next step in this local disaster which has without doubt been orchestrated by the old guard.

  19. Bob Hawkins

    October 12, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    #49 & 50. The best starting point for a renewal of local government in the Huon Valley would be (i) for all nine sacked councillors to promise not to stand for re-election, whether for a Huon Valley council or for an amalgam of Kingborough and the Huon Valley; and (ii) for HVC’s top management to accept generous departure terms. Only with a brand new council and a brand new management can there be any hope of an end to the suspicions that fester on both sides of the fence.

  20. Trish Kyne

    October 12, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    The suspicion and mistrust shown by some of us is due to the many years of trying to get transparency and good governance in all the council dealings.

    The suspicion persists when unknown names arise without any background information. If everything is ‘above board’ then an introduction and background from the new person seems in order. Otherwise the suspicion is that the new person is a front man or woman for the old guard.

    Trust can only be built when all cards are laid on the table. Stating that Kingborough is all about tourism (They have a beach) and the Huon Valley is all about primary industry (air walk / Hastings Caves / Wilson’s little boat / Jet boat / walking trails / the great efforts to get the Geeves effect off the ground / fishing / sailing / wineries / fruit pickers and most of all great natural beauty) immediately blots the copy book.

    Having the first meeting in Geeveston at the early time at the community centre is reminiscent of the way particular people do business; people who have already well and truly blotted their copy book in the eyes of the public.

    Talking about a non-for profit organisation sounds like the Geeveston Town hall incorporated body, which has one official person from council still on the board, and that’s the general manager. The Council is picking up the tab for the visitor centre staff and I would assume insurance and other running costs. For those on the outside, it appears to be a secret enclave progressing business that is funded by council without any of the business being discussed in council itself, or shared with all the rest of the councillors.

    #41 I agree with Simon. In order to achieve equality in the valley for all residents, the old guard have to desist in attempting to maintain a stranglehold on all decisions.

    The leaking of the Paige Seager report and article that appeared in yesterdays Mercury is about the old guard attempting to totally annihilate the character of the one person who represented a majority point of view of valley residents. It had nothing to do with truth, or moving forward as a community; and everything to do with particular people looking to the next council election and attempting to kill off any opposition to their personal point of view. They still haven’t learned they have been the architects of their own demise, and their brand still stinks in the noses of the populace.

  21. Petar Johnson

    October 12, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    It has been interesting to see how engaged some people really are. Reminds me of the recent US presidential race public forums no constructive debate, just character assassination attempts.

    I can see why decent leadership has been hiding in the Valley, as the rocks come out in multitude. This is exactly why people are intimidated to speak out.

    Simon, good man your suggestion is indeed a constructive start and I think should be an early focus. Do you know anyone in the valley that has the expertise to break down the paradigm and help the audience understand the issue of turning the political power upside down so it rests with the community? I am looking for about a 10 minute presentation and a short powerpoint to help illustrate this direction as a platform to allowing residents to understand the risks and opportunities of going down this community model of governance.

    To the rest of the rock throwing boys.. are we really going to measure a man by any dirt you can find on the internet.. or make a contribution. I certainly don’t have time to address in detail the various negative snippets presented in this forum.

    My two lines are:
    – ASIC penpushers took the opportunity to intimidate a 29yr old unjustly without my access to legal advice.I have been tempted to take the matter further in recent years but can’t be bothered.

    – Urbans was a major civil landscaping firm with over 40 years in the region but was taken down by Lend Lease during a 1B build for the new ASIO headquarters. I took the lead after they were in administration for a turnaround which failed as they have been paid for work that had not been completed by the ACT Government which resurfaced.

    Any more? Hey did you look at the achievements?

    Any further suggestions on next steps to help the reform process with Council would be welcomed.

  22. Alan Mason

    October 12, 2016 at 12:10 pm

  23. Alan Mason

    October 12, 2016 at 12:04 pm

  24. Bob Hawkins

    October 12, 2016 at 11:06 am

    #45: Yes, Geoffrey, it is frustrating dealing with faceless names. At least my old knocker, red-herring-dragger Ben Lohberger, was always ready to identify himself. Where are you Ben? I’d love to hear your take on Minister Gutwein’s highly political appointment to run HVC.

  25. Geoffrey Swan

    October 11, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    #44 Ohh…another nom de plume… finding the plight of our Valley “amusing”.

    What is so damn frustrating in all this, is the onlookers hiding behind their laptops who make inane comments such as “defaming other people and taking faux offence if anyone objects to their behaviour”

    Dear “Amused” .. please show me one bit of evidence that supports this ridiculous statement.

    The people who choose to speak up, and I am one of them, do not in my view have any concerns for their behaviour. Everything is above board and therefore no reason for any offence – faux of otherwise.

    Defamation is an easy word to toss around – yet do some research and you will see how difficult it is to actually do that, and then for the person supposedly “defamed” to make it stick.

    I for one am not playing games here. I am simply sick and tired of the various behaviours I have personally witnessed by Wilson, Ruzicka and Paul in particular. I am appalled at some of the stories going back to Armstrong’s realm and those that have continued to this day.

    And in my view the jury is out as to what part HVC management has had to play in all this – past and present.

    Convicts were shipped to Van Diemen’s land for far less… (sorry Amused.. is this defaming..)

    And your last comment “what is anyone trying to build up”.. I don’t understand – we simply want transparency and honesty. Simple really.

    And the games now being played out by a couple of the now SACKED Councillors is laughable..

    Supreme Court action?? – at least they will be spending their own money this time round and not $54,000 of our Ratepayers funds…we can only hope!!

  26. Amused

    October 11, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Petar Johnson should ignore the sacked mayors supporters. They prefer throwing stones, defaming other people and taking faux offence if anyone objects to their behaviour. God forbid that someone else would try too build something up in the Huon Valley without their permission.

  27. Bob Hawkins

    October 11, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I believe Boggles’ and Taylor’s paths would have crossed much more frequently (when they were mayors of HVC and Glenorchy respectively), by attending LGAT and Local Government Division events.

  28. Geoffrey Swan

    October 11, 2016 at 1:27 am

    #39, #40 As the author of two preceding comments I take offence to Mr Johnson’s comment “I find the last comments defamatory and slanderous”.

    Firstly I pointed out that I was personally unaware of such a “community” meeting and I personally subscribe to all local media inc the Mercury and Tasmanian Times; plus I am privy to an extensive email network of residents; and secondly, I wanted to emphasise we do have a real functional literacy issue here in the Valley that is far worse than the State average.

    Therefore, as I said, if indeed a truly “representative body” is desirous of good governance, truth, transparency and honesty – then be very sure this “group” is not simply another representation of the Heart of the Huon bloc. And please be mindful that written communications will not do the trick for many of our locals – more is needed. As was clearly illustrated in the totally wasted efforts of the recent Boundary adjustment survey.

    And my second comment #38 was after the penny dropped and I saw a copy of the flyer shouting at us in an uppercase font atypical of Union member’s communication, complete with a red “communist style” slash through the HVC logo. And I now recognise the mobile phone number is Mr Petar Johnson – which he doesn’t appear to answer despite my numerous attempts.

    Putting two and two together, being aware of Ruzicka’s targeted letter box drop, being very aware of antics and bad behaviour of a few of the now ex Councillors – and not forgetting others before this time, then I definitely stand by my comments – none of which are defamatory or slanderous. I am merely stating my position and my observations.

    The real questions to be answered up front are:

    1. Is there some connection or a link between Mr Petar Johnson and the now ex Councillors Wilson, Ruzicka or Paul?

    2. Is there any questionable link between the newly appointed Commissioner and the former Mayor Armstrong given their respective time in Parliament?

    3. Is the appointed Commissioner simply a ploy on behalf of our State Government?

    4. Is the now disbanded HotH bloc continuing to delude the Valley to the real issues of why our Council is in the state it is now in?

    5. This is the first time I seen Mr “Petar” Johnson pop up in the media – unless he was formerly Mickey Mouse or some other nom de plume. What is Mr Johnson’s business, familial and social links to the Valley – and does he in fact even reside here?

    Just some starter questions really – there is so much dirty water under the bridge and so much still being kept hidden from us Ratepayers that I’m afraid my trust and faith has been well and truly broken.

    In my view it has nothing to do with the HVC causing residents headaches or grievances over matters of Council – sure I have personally suffered a few challenges on that front – but that is what Councils do wherever we live. Suck it up or fight back, make peace and get on.

    The essence of our Valley issues is the skeletons in the closet, the lies, the ongoing important quest for truth and transparency, the cover ups, the secret deals, the familial links and looking after your mates – the oath of the old guard.

    Time for much needed change – there is no room for a repeat of the HotH mob’s antics.

  29. Simon Warriner

    October 10, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Perhaps what is needed is a bit more focus on what the role of “elected representative” is about.

    Under the current paradigm it seems to me that those being elected, for the most part, see the role as one of imposing their view of the world on everyone else.

    I suggest that the role should be redefined to be one of being a conduit of the full range of the communities’ views to the representative forum and then, in collaboration with their fellow representatives, formulating policy to deliver the greatest possible common good.

    We have a workable system, but the way it is being used at present is a bit like one person holding the axe handle while his mate beats the head with a rock. Learning how to use the tool properly might be a revelation as to productivity and the effort required to get there.

    Perhaps that is where Petar Johnson’s forums need to start the discussion.

  30. Petar Johnson

    October 10, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    I can confirm that this is an independent non-profit trust that is delivering this forum and is not in any way associated with former council staff or Cr’s. That said, should they wish to participate in the forum as residents then this will be allowed.

    Yes the linked in profile has some of my past achievements, but it is rather out of date and many are not listed there.

    I look forward to a safe and quality dialogue focused on the task at hand which is primarily gathering a level of resident conviction that our common ideas and voice have a role to play in the future governance of the District.

    We will invite the Commissioner to address the meeting and anyone else seeking to provide information and quality views on this topic can call me on 0477 419 128.

    Of great benefit at this time would be a list of grievances that have occurred among the residents in relation to past Council matters which are still affecting their lives. I would welcome anyone that is able to make a contribution to a working group that is gathering these over the course of the next 2-3 months so that they can be presented to Council in a constructive fashion.

  31. Petar Johnson

    October 10, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    The challenge to me appears to put aside the cynicism that the residents of the Valley cannot control their sovereign right to self determination. Those of us that have turned into cynics after the last Council period need to motivate themselves to make a contribution to the future of the Valley.

    I find the last comments defamatory and slanderous. I hope this forum brings forward some ideas on how to bring together the solidarity of the community to face the governance challenges of the Valley. Should it not then I will need to move on and get on with the job.

    I continue to welcome ideas on how to commence a process of effective dialogue and collaboration with the astute in the Valley so that a united vision can emerge.

    It seems there is already demand for more forums in other centres of the valley, which is a great start.

  32. Geoffrey Swan

    October 10, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    #37 Thanks Trish for the clarity – I also checked Linkedin – perhaps Mr or (Ms) Johnson can confirm or deny.

    If this is yet another attempt by Wilson and his cohorts to further pervert the course of justice then I want nothing to do with it.

    I have heard that former Cr (so good to say that) Ruzicka was doing a private letter box drop in the Cygnet area – is it possible he is also in on this ploy…and that it is simply more of the same underhand misbehavior to which we have unfortunately become accustomed?

  33. Trish Kyne

    October 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    The flyer is on the window of the Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet and Mr Johnson spoke on Huon FM.

    Stating that amalgamation is off the board is the mantra of the HotH team. To totally exclude looking at the numbers and seeing where savings can be made between councils to the betterment of the community is fiscally reckless.

    Stating that the valley is not about tourism and is all about primary industry is baloney. It appears to me that there may be another ‘industry’ on the horizon that the residents won’t like. Especially if this link below is the profile of the meeting convenor?

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/petarjohnson ??

    With a statement espousing primary industry as the focus for the valley and a convener with an environmental background ……….. the spectre I foresee is – Barges / forestry / sandstone mines / and a multitude of trucks on the road with the river views destroyed.

    If the link above is the convenor’s profile – who is paying for his time?

    I specifically asked the question about timing as it seemed to me that the dreaded articulate were deliberately being excluded.

    I doubt this is really about good governance Geoffrey.

  34. Geoffrey Swan

    October 10, 2016 at 1:13 am

    #34 What 3.30pm meeting ??

    I consider myself pretty well up to speed with what is happening – but I for one did not see any advertising for such a meeting…

    #35 Petar – if you are indeed sincere in your approach for reform, transparency and good governance and http://www.huoncitizenscouncil.com sounds to be an excellent first step – then please be sure your efforts are well communicated. And count me in.

    And please don’t forget the apparent 64% in our Valley who suffer from functional illiteracy.

  35. Petar Johnson

    October 9, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    A time had to be set and the community Center closes at 5.00pm so we would need to pay for after hours.

    There will be more sessions in different parts of the Valley. Any suggestions for time and place and reason?

    There is no perfect time for everyone.. but aim to make the meetings an easy access, safe and collaborative environment full of information and vision for all.

  36. Trish Kyne

    October 9, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    #33
    Advertising your community meeting for 3.30pm on a Friday excludes all the workers in the valley.

    Why?

  37. Petar Johnson

    October 9, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    The cynics among you continue to delve into the risk of further corruption and dispair. So where and with whom is the future and what does it look like? These threats to good governance, justice and equity will only come back if there is a vacuum in the community voice and vision and the reform process fails.

    How can we help the administrator reform the council and what level of community support can be harnessed to ensure that this is undertaken in a transparent process?

    What does the Huon community mean by good governance. How can we as the community fill the vacuum created in local government for the citizens of the Huon Valley?

    What power do we have to shape our own future?

    How do we harness our rates and resources for our benefit?

    Critical to the outcome is how well the Huon community organises itself and its equitable interests in the next 12 months. Where are all the unheard voices, the individuals that have had their dreams shattered, their homes threatened and their money taken? What are they going to do about an equitable future. if not for themselves then the future generation.

    Now is the time to organize, solve the problems of the past and articulate a vision and plan for the next 12 months and longer.

    http://www.huoncitizenscouncil.com

    coming soon…

  38. john hayward

    October 8, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Reading this together with Penny Allen’s story about the George Town Council (below), it’s beginning to look like some sort of endemic virus which attacks the ethical immune system.

    Nothing new, but the wet weather may have stimulated the rot.

    John Hayward

  39. Bob Hawkins

    October 7, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    #30. Another bad call by LG Minister Gutwein. He could at least have gone up north to the foreign country that shares Tasmania with us to find even a half-independent commissioner. Gutwein’s latest decision, to pick a southern politician as HVC’s commissioner, is yet another example in a lengthening series of his mis-steps since the BoI delivered its verdict in June and he chose to ignore its three main recommendations. But what we mustn’t forget is that Taylor, as commissioner, has all the authority of the nine sacked councillors, which includes the power to dismiss management.

  40. Mark Temby

    October 7, 2016 at 10:55 am

    #29 Phil, perhaps Glenorchy City Council is seen by the Minister as best practice.

    http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmanian-state-government-set-to-announce-inquiry-into-glenorchy-city-council/news-story/8e35e2706e89081f743f7be6ce7555b0

    “Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein has announced a board of inquiry to look at the council’s governance issues.” Ms Taylor may have already left the council but as the former Mayor I’d suggest a high level of accountability in “looking to the future” and setting the foundations for a professionally managed council. What happened?

    Peter Coad is probably too gentlemanly to say but I’m not sure Ms Taylor would fit the category of suitably independent, qualified and experienced.

  41. phill Parsons

    October 7, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Somewhere in these HVC threads I said if a Liberal crony was appointed it would see the dirt covered up. If I am imagining I said that then I say it now.

  42. Mark Temby

    October 7, 2016 at 9:31 am

    In an earlier post I stated an Administrator should only look forward. There is a difference between “amalgamation in the next twelve months” and “investigating options for amalgamation in the next twelve months.” It seems Gutwein wants neither which is a stupidity given HVC remains one of the smallest ratepayer populations in Tasmania. It is also isolated geographically if the opportunity is missed.

  43. Trish Kyne

    October 6, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    #26 – I agree.

    The new administrator announced today that she will be happy to meet with community groups and expects to do that widely through the valley. Lets hope she gets to look further than the 250 little group currently used by H.V.C. which is really an exclusive not inclusive group.

    The other part of her statement was she would be looking forward, not back. So does that mean all the problems will remain uncovered? If it does, what a cop out by the minister.

  44. Robin Charles Halton

    October 6, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    #23 Bob, I would go along with you on that course of action as HVC being an inward looking council for far too long, needs to amalgamate with Kingborough to ever stand a chance getting back on its feet with a good referee to steer it into the world of today.

    Hopefully commissioner Adriana Taylor was a good choice to run the show for a term and get the place back onto its feet as all Huon ratepayers, residents and businesses alike deserve an entire renewal of local council support.

    It seems the Mike Wilson factor has been overwhelming any chance of a self stabilising outcome for council.

    To his credit Mayor Peter Coad had taken the right approach; its a pity the entire council sacking did not take place earlier by PG.

    Wilson in particular should never be expected to stand for council again, that is a personal observation of mine.

  45. Shane Johnson

    October 6, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    On first glance, Adriana Taylor appears to be an excellent choice.
    My preference was for someone to be chosen from outside of Tasmania as the Local Government networks run deep. However, Taylor has the experience of the system but has been sufficiently removed for the past six years to have independence.
    Bob @23, I think that there is merit in Huon Valley Council remaining a separate entity but with a much larger degree of resource sharing with other councils. Amalgamation should not be seen as a cure-all.

  46. Bob Hawkins

    October 6, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Now that the council is sacked, a commissioner can delve deeply into the administrative entrails of HVC. I think there is far more to find there than you would ever be able to find out about the individual actions of all nine sacked councillors. Expect a steady roll-out out of places to look, and matters to consider, over coming weeks. I’m sure the commissioner would welcome contributions from anyone who thinks they have something to say about the performance of their council down the years. In the meantime, I suggest the commissioner starts reading all four-score or so submissions that good people of the Huon made to the Board of Inquiry team. Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if the commissioner had some long, confidential sessions (that is, with no one else present) with the two members of the BoI. It will be a happy day when people can look forward to a brand new council and a brand new management, preferably in tandem with the good people of Kingborough. That would mean massive admin and operational savings and, more importantly, a severing of the age-old nexus between council and certain valley interests.

  47. Geoffrey Swan

    October 6, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Huon Valley deputy mayor Ian Paul: “There’s been no reason given why we should be sacked. Whether that’s a legal avenue that we can pursue, then that’s to be determined at a later date.”

    Huon Valley Councillor Mike Wilson: “I’m absolutely disgusted in the way this has been handled as far as the government is concerned in letting us know.”

    In my view, the various comments in today’s Mercury, along with a main street photo in their Sunday best and Mr Paul with his arms folded says it all.

    Time to go Mr Paul and Mr Wilson – continuing to stir up more angst in our community is not going to cut the mustard. We all saw it coming – regrettably it should have been much sooner. If you are unable to understand or accept what has now happened – then how can you seriously suggest you are representative of the residents of the Huon Valley.

    As for comments from residents “we haven’t heard any details”… attending just one of the HVC Council meetings in the past 12+ months, reading the BOI report, and by reading Tasmanian Times and other media; the details of the total dysfunction because of the inability of a pack of six (now former Councillors) to do their job for which they were elected is blatantly apparent.

    Time to move on people.

    Time for an “independent administrator” to finally open Pandora’s box.

  48. Chris

    October 6, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Good to see Gwoom Standing next to the Oracle for Tasmania and spouting irrelevant details of Hydro goings on when, he did not know where the question was coming from.
    Bonus anyone?
    Then Gutwhiner espousing Council Amalgamation, as- lets get the Liberals all into great big councils and then we can control all of ewes Clarence and Sorell are there already and the rest can join from the East Coast domain of the Exclusive Brethren and just because Kennet achieved no money savings in Victorian, we can cos KPMG sed we can so there. (how much were their fees and how was that saving money)?
    The agenda is to control the land of Abetz by Abetz for Abetz, Wee Willy Winky will run up and down stairs in his nighty gown and apart from raising his eyebrows in a squinty fashion he will be controlled by that right wing nut job!
    Good to see the ratepayers have all been extensively canvassed and their hopes and wishes taken into consideration in the Expensive report. not.

  49. Bob Hawkins

    October 5, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    #19. That’s a great basis on which to start the future of LG in the HV. Most importantly, we must remember — now that Gutwein has sacked the councillors — that the commissioner makes it a main task to assemble a completely new senior management team to complete the clean-out. I’m pointing no fingers. It’s just that LG in the Huon, whether on its own or, preferably amalgamated with Kingborough, re-starts with a completely clean sheet — new councillors and new management — so that no one, not even the chief stirrer for new elections (and eternal but forever unsuccessful mayoral aspirant) will have anything to complain about.

  50. Trish Kyne

    October 5, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I hear there has been a leaflet delivered via a letter box drop to a limited selection of dwellings, announcing a meeting at the Geeveston Town Hall in November, to discuss interest in forming a community association to advise the new (not yet announced as a reality!) administrator of the HVC.

    So – the usual suspects appear to believe they will still manage council affairs by a group of local people managing the administrator……

    Surely, if the council is to ever come into the 21st century, the formation of a community advisory group would be advertised by the minister for interested parties to apply in writing to his office.

    I would expect that interested parties would have to meet specific criteria. If I was compiling a list of criteria it would state –

    Ineligible to apply:
    • Previous councillors or employees of the Huon Valley Council
    • Local business owners with council contracts, or financial backers of individual councillors

    Eligibility for application and consideration:
    • Qualifications and experience in finance
    • Qualifications and experience in Human Resource management (especially as there has been such a high turnover of staff from that unit)
    • Qualifications and experience in Governance
    • Qualifications and experience in strategic planning
    • Experience in Local Government Association regulations and management.

    So a small, independent qualified group of people that will be useful to an administrator.

    Any group that sets itself up outside such an appointment, cannot be independent from the current council issues. Such a self appointed group is more likely to promote self interest by attempting to control the administrator.

    This may be the only chance the valley residents have to come into the 21st century and look forward to a new open, consultative, transparent council with the real community issues being addressed.

  51. Robin Charles Halton

    October 5, 2016 at 7:11 am

    The way I look at it Wilson want to be Mayor and run the show with his cronies keeping council business to themselves.

    Peter Coad and his few supporters in Council want to move foward, talk with the neighboring Kingborough Council re resource sharing and amalgamation- as most other South Eastern Councils are doing at present.

    Eventually Peter Gutwein will have to sack the Huon Council, the longer he leaves it the worse it will get.
    It seems the Liberal government are stuck in the past too!

  52. Bob Hawkins

    October 1, 2016 at 1:45 am

    Mr Gutwein, if you are to salvage something for your own reputation from the debacle that you have made through your handling of our dysfunctional Huon Valley Council, you must act quickly. Please Mr Gutwein, don’t keep us hanging until mid-October. Sack it, and give us an administrator who deserves the confidence of everyone in the valley who wants clean, transparent and consultative local government. Do it now, quickly and decisively. I feel it in my bones that you are about to act.

  53. mike seabrook

    September 30, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    re the councils previously run water and sewerage service

    just looking at my most recent bill

    households paying est.$400.00 per year for water and increasing at est. 2% per year which is est. at 40% above the annual 1.4% cpi rate

    sewerage at est. $600 per year which is increasing at 6% per year which is 400% above the annual 1.4% cpi rate.

    tell me again who forced the councils to hand over the water and sewerage to a price gouging monopolistic instrumentality which is controlled by the state pollies appointed cronies.

  54. mike seabrook

    September 30, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    administrator of the huon valley council until such time as the state pollies convince/demand kingborough council to take it over (and a warning to all the rest of the small unviable tassie councils).

    if the kingborough councillors are smart, they would insist of the tas government taking on all the huon valley councils liabilities and contingent liabilities

    can anyone make the case that this is not the best alternative for huon valley property owners/ratepayers, particularly as planning rule powers (traditionally held by the councillors) are being completely white-anted and have been/are being given to a planning authority – staffed by cronies of the pollies.

  55. Bob Hawkins

    September 30, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    #13 Geoffrey, that was too serious a moment to find it pure fun. To me, it was another distasteful reminder of why council is in the pickle it is in. When a councillor (and deputy mayor) can show that kind of disrespect towards a member of the community he is supposed to be serving, I am convinced that Minister Gutwein, despite his frustrating procrastination, has no option but to put his money where his mouth is. But, yes, there was a funny side to it, too.

  56. Geoffrey Swan

    September 30, 2016 at 2:17 am

    #11 Bob… I disagree… to me the MOST FUN moment was when Deputy Mayor Paul asked the Mayor about the member in the public Gallery at the June Ordinary Council meeting who stated that if an investigation is carried out and no wrongdoings is found… he will pay Council $5000…. has this statement been honoured?

    (Cr Paul had to repeat the question after complaints from the Gallery he was mumbling and not using the microphone)

    Mayor Coad: I am aware of the statement and there hasn’t been any forensic audit done of any of the credit card statements issue…and until that’s… and I can’t speak for the person concerned… but I know I wouldn’t be handing over any money until that forensic audit is done. But I can’t speak for that person concerned.. you should write to that person concerned.

    A priceless moment.

    I am going to miss my monthly outings to Council.

  57. Trish Kyne

    September 29, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    #1 if the GM has total control over operational matters – how would councillors manage to upload a survey of supposed importance without statistical validity being checked first?

    #2 the smoke & mirrors around amalgamation are more about breaking local deals than service delivery.

    #3 & #5 Employers hire like minded people that will do what is asked to keep them all in their appointed jobs. In my last job the senior manager would over-rule the selection panel when it suited. HR policies only work when applied fairly.

    Those who find themselves in toxic or unfair positions walk away.

    #11 I agree. The comments from the gallery were an effort to get the usual suspects to speak into their microphones. Hardly heckling. The ‘tense’ atmosphere to me seemed one more of resignation.

  58. Bob Hawkins

    September 29, 2016 at 12:02 am

    The Mercury today talked of heckling at last night’s HVC. I didn’t see any of that, but there certainly was a bit of joshing, and a sense of euphoria on the part of many of the 40 (my count) crammed into the public gallery to watch what may be the last ever ordinary meeting of the Huon Valley Council with councilors present. For me, the best fun moment was when Wilson complained that it was difficult to concentrate on his serious duties as a councillor with conversations going on in the public gallery. Longtime HVC observer (maybe 23 years) Marianne Bekkema shot up her hand and offered an “I’m guilty!” plea. Mayor Coad, quick as a flash, warned Marianne that, should there be any more of that kind of behaviour, he might have to throw her out. Much mirth, but not heckling, from the gallery. Let’s hope the next time we see a Huon Valley councillor in action it will be one sitting on a “super council” of at least HVC and Kingborough. Gutwein knows he must do something that will break the nexus between the valley’s council and it outdated, going-nowhere, culture maintained by yesterday’s kingmakers.

  59. Geoffrey Swan

    September 28, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    #8 thanks Shane and my apologies Cr Lange.

    Unfortunately despite an earlier letter and request to all Councillors to be more clear in their voting with hand signals and using the microphones, it is almost impossible to follow the meeting in the Gallery. (I am not suggesting Cr Lange it was your fault on this occasion – I just missed the moment)

  60. Bob Hawkins

    September 28, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    #7&8*: I think that Lange, while he did vote for Smith’s amendment, also voted for the original recommendation when it became the motion, thus allowing it to pass 5-3. Had the amendment voting pattern been sustained for the motion, it would have been 4-4 (and thus defeat for the motion as well). We’ll see exactly what happened when the draft minutes become available on Monday. Me? I’m hoping last night’s votes on the subject of Huon-D’Entrecasteaux soon become purely academic.

  61. Shane Johnson

    September 28, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Geoffrey Swan @ 7, Cr. Lange voted for the amendment. This tied the vote at 4-4 and so the amendment to the motion was lost.

  62. Geoffrey Swan

    September 28, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Confirmation of dysfunction at tonight’s HVC council meeting.

    My open letter to all Councillors as repeated in Comment #1 above clearly illustrated why the Boundary Adjustment Survey should have been closed down.

    After tonight’s Council meeting – a full gallery plus media, I can now only wonder how many of our elected Councillors even bothered to read my letter – or was tonight simply a display of ignorance, arrogance or both.

    15.043/16*
    RECOMMENDATION
    That:
    a) The report on the Huon D’Entrecasteaux boundary adjustment community
    engagement summary be received and noted.
    b) The results of the survey are considered during the course of
    implementation of resolution 15.028/16*.

    (15.028/16* related to an agreed motion at last meeting of Council – briefly that HVC thank Kingborough for the invitation to resume discussions on Local Government Reform; the HVC wishes to broaden discussions to include Resource Sharing and Boundary Adjustments; and that HVC does not support voluntary amalgamations at this time and will consider this option only after all other options have been exhausted.)

    Cr Smith moved an amendment to the motion that item “a” remain and item “b” be deleted. Cr Smith went on to explain her reason being because of the low level of respondents and because of the potential for people to repeat the survey a number of times. And “if that were true the participation is even lower”.

    Mayor Coad: agreed it is not a valid survey and is of no use in any way whatsoever.

    Cr Mackintosh: agreed and added we can learn from this going forward.

    Cr Ruzicka: “DISAGREE with the amendment”.

    (Cr Ruzicka refused to speak into his microphone even after calls from the Gallery and repeated requests from the General Manager and the Mayor. He personally gave me a very intimidating death stare that has seriously bothered me and I am now considering my options under the Councillor Code of Conduct, Local Government Act 1993)

    Since posting my comment in Tasmania Times I have heard from others who manipulated the survey data. I can now confirm that in excess of 102 of the survey results, complete with one line comments were completed by only 7 people – and 2 live in Hobart.

    Therefore 27% of the survey is CORRUPT DATA – and that is only from people with whom I have personally been in contact.

    How is it possible that Cr’s Wilson, Paul, Lange, Ruzicka and Heron can agree to accept the survey data as being of any future use whatsoever.

    A shocking indictment from our elected representatives, in my view, is that tonight’s decision demonstrates a total lack of intelligence on this matter – and it also affirms the typical pattern of the HotH voting which we ratepayers have had to accept since the last elections.

  63. Carol Rea

    September 27, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    As a Margate dweller I responded to the monkey Survey. Hoping for an opportunity to comment at the end. My offering was denied and denied until I whittled it down to the 250 characters allowed. Nowhere did it state that was the limit – but I worked it out – eventually. It hopefully made for some pithy one-liners from those who persisted.
    The survey makers didn’t actually want my views at all.
    The description on tonights Agenda of the HVC.

    The questions asked in the survey were as follows:

    Question One: Do you want us to continue to investigate the feasibility of a boundary adjustment that expands the Huon Valley municipal
    area to include Margate South, the Channel and Bruny Island?

    Question Two: Please enter your postcode

    An additional comments box was also included which provided space for entering 250
    characters.

  64. The Insider

    September 27, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Is it true that the 10th HR employee resigned this week. Ten in under 3 years, that would have to be some record for a Local Council?

  65. Geoffrey Swan

    September 27, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    “It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings”…

    Why should anyone be surprised by the news in today’s Mercury “Last ditch bid to save Huon Council” complete with a mug shot of Cr Wilson..

    This just has to stop here and now!!

  66. O'Brien

    September 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

    “It is said that power corrupts,
    but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible.
    The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.”
    — David Brin
    (1950- )

  67. Mike Bolan

    September 27, 2016 at 1:22 am

    The Local Government Act states that the general manager, and the Council, can do “whatever is convenient” in the course of their duties, which are only vaguely defined. Predictably the amateurs who are elected to Council frequently rely on the General Manager (who may have no qualifications or experience in local affairs e.g. is a ‘blow in’) to instruct them on what should be done. Hence the structure, words, minimum standards, qualifications and assistance provided to Local Councils is totally inadequate to expect quality governance in the 21st century.

    Given the levels of council inefficiency, the number of Councils, the number of administrations and planning schemes, and the ability of Councils to set their own incomes and rates, plus the almost total lack of control or redress for the public, all combine to produce overall costs and problems that are totally unaffordable and unnecessary.

    There’s a great opportunity here for Minister Gutwein to grasp the nettle and rationalise the means of delivering the ‘services’ claimed by Councils.

    We all await his actions with interest.

  68. Geoffrey Swan

    September 26, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Yet another example of what I believe supports the BoI view of a dysfyunctional council – my letter today to HVC slightly edited because too many words for comment:

    On August 1st 2016, in writing, I requested immediate Council management intervention into closing down the Boundary Adjustment Survey, and I provided a number of valid reasons.

    On the Agenda tomorrow evening, item 15.043/16, is a 4 page report complete with statistics, coloured graphs and various report style comments.

    A separate 21 page attachment provides a list of all the one line comments made by the “public or whoever”. Given the potential interest in attending this last Council meeting it is highly likely there will be 30+ copies of all this documentation provided as handouts for the gallery – maybe 750 photocopy pages or more.

    Councillors, PLEASE allow me one last time to explain why Council must NOT vote in favour of accepting the summary, or the results of this survey. The Vote must be Against.

    1. Because we could… my family submitted 7 responses.
    2. I am aware of three other people who submitted in excess of 5 responses and used various postcodes, and made various comments.
    3. I am aware of one person who submitted 50+ responses using onion routing software – not difficult, not illegal and entirely possible.
    4. I am aware this very same person made up to 50 of the one line comments to the survey. And because I am unable to reveal whether these were yes or no comments one cannot simply remove 50 comments from one side of the summary and suggest all is now OK.

    Since our HVC is keen on statistics and percentages, I put to you that at minimum 72 respondents or 20% of the survey is made up of totally invalid data – totally corrupted and cannot be accepted in any way as legitimate input.

    To my mind this is yet one more blatant example of a dysfunctional Council – a Council that is unwilling to accept timely and valid input from a resident and ratepayer. A council that appears more intent on demonstrating that all is well in Council land and that the Council is attempting to “engage with the Community” – though perhaps forgetting that a suggested 64% of residents in the Valley are functionally illiterate.

    In August I did receive a polite thankyou from Cr Lange, three informed comments from Kingborough Councillors, and an email comment from our General Manager. I also received what I now recognise as a boilerplate response from Minister Gutwein; “The Minister is considering the matters raised.”

    Ms Watson declared in part:

    “I appreciate your comments and at no time have I been asked to advise Council on the statistical validity or otherwise of the community engagement method selected. “

    It is my understanding (but I will stand corrected) that the proposed survey was offered by the General Manager to Councillors and it was up to Councillors to accept the recommendation.

    A majority, but not a unanimous vote agreed to proceed.

    If this is correct my first confusion is why would Council management offer a survey that has no “statistical validity or otherwise”, to what end, and why waste Council resources on a survey that is perhaps knowingly going to be declared invalid?

    1. I note a cost of $300 on previous HVC accounts to purchase Survey Monkey software – presumably for this survey and potentially others.

    2. I note a detailed report with coloured graphs and multiple printouts of all the comments – a reasonable amount of work and cost I presume.

    If the same costs of some $11,000 to $15,000 that was suggested would be required to obtain credit card statements are considered here, then I hazard a guess at how much money has been thrown at this totally invalid survey process.

    3. I note that for some reason the emails of concern from residents were excluded from the report to Council – perhaps like me not supporting the Survey.

    “Council received 5 emails from 2 residents (0.01% of the Huon Valley population)
    raising concerns in relation to the process of the community engagement. These
    have not been included in the summary of the results as they are beyond the survey
    questions and did not relate to them.”
     
    4. I note comments in the Agenda refer to the fact the Survey software relies in tracking an IP address from an individual device – but I also not with an underline to emphasise the fact that Council tested and found this NOT possible.

    “However, IP blocking software does exist which may be used inappropriately to enable an IP address to respond to the survey multiple times. It is noted that the survey was tested from a number of computers and devices which all indicated that multiple responses to the survey were not possible.”

    I trust you will give due consideration to my input and put this invalid survey to bed once and for all.

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