Country News

G-MW chief accused of excessive claims

By Geoff Adams

Goulburn-Murray Water's history of governance failures has been placed in the spotlight by a new report by Victoria's ombudsman.

"To paraphrase Oscar Wilde,to lose one director may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose multiple board members,chairs and managing directors since 2011 looks like carelessness,'' ombudsman Deborah Glass remarked in her report.
The Ombudsman found thousands of dollars of claims paid to former managing director Pat Lennon had been claimed inapppropriately.
"Both the conduct of Mr Lennon and former chair Joanne Anderson, who resigned in July and had approved all the claims, were inappropriate, Ms Glass found.
Among nearly $20,000 worth of 'relocation expenses' approved for reimbursement, were a $3200 queen-size mattress, a $1700 nine-piece outdoor furniture setting, and more than $700 for pots and pans and cutlery.
Mr Lennon was also reimbursed for more than $21,000 worth of meals, drinks and hotel stays across a 13-month period.
One expense claim for $2205, dated June 2017 from a regional Victorian function centre, included a "bar tab" of $835.
"We do not expect our senior officials to be housed, fed and watered on the public purse, on top of a generous salary. We do not expect to pay for relationships to be lubricated by alcohol," Ms Glass said.
Further reports in the Shepparton News tomorrow and in Country News next week.