By Luke Voogt
New investigative powers could have prevented the mass sacking of Geelong’s council, according to Victoria’s Chief Municipal Inspector.
Legislation at the time prevented state investigations of bullying at City Hall from referring complaints to the Local Government Inspectorate, David Wolf said.
But now the inspectorate could investigate individual complaints under the Local Government Act, which would have prevented the April 2016 sacking, he said.
“The objective of the new framework is earlier intervention to deal with individual cases before they become a bigger issue.”
The Indy reported in January that a state-appointed panel had upheld four bullying complaints, leading to the departure of “several” people from City Hall.
The inspectorate received no reports of breaches by any of the councillors recontesting, Mr Wolf said.
But Geelong voters appeared “split” on whether to re-elected them, he said.
Mr Wolf encouraged voters to check candidates’ credentials online and to beware of dummy candidates before casting postal votes.
“The electorate is pretty savvy,” he said.
“Voters are pretty conscious of genuine candidates and less-genuine candidates.”