INDIGO Shire Council forked out almost $20,600 in February for councillors, senior staff and a consultant to discuss the council’s coming four-year plan.
Indigo chief executive Gerry Smith confirmed last week that 19 people had participated in a two-day planning workshop at Lindenwarrah – a boutique hotel operated by Lancemore Group near Milawa – on February 12-13.
He said the workshop was planned “as the culmination of the three-month induction program for the incoming council” – which was elected in October last year.
It was attended by Indigo’s seven councillors, led by mayor Jenny O’Connor, six executive staff, three senior managers and two council secretariat officers.
An external consultant acted as a facilitator and charged ratepayers $7626 for the service, which Mr Smith said included a month-long lead-up to the workshop, during which the consultant interviewed incoming councillors, prepared an agenda and workshop content with council executives, and facilitated workshop discussion.
But Wooragee’s Robin McLiesh – who keeps a keen eye on council spending – challenged the council at last month’s meeting to justify its decision to hold the workshop in a municipality other than Indigo.
Mayor O’Connor was unable to answer Mr McLiesh’s questions during the meeting about the number of people who attended the workshop.