Whittlesea council is yet to decide whether it remains a member of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA), opting to postpone the decision until it hears from the organisations’ chief executives.
The council decided in June to review its membership to both organisations to ensure they were beneficial and there was no duplication of services.
The decision meant the council did not pay its MAV membership fees by the due date of August 31, making it a non-financial member.
As a consequence of the council’s decision, Cr Mary Lalios, who is the MAV president, faced the prospect of losing her position with the association.
However, the Supreme Court of Victoria ruled late last month that she could continue as president.
The council has invited MAV chief executive Kerry Thompson and VLGA chief executive Kathryn Arndt to make a presentation to council outlining the benefits of membership to their organisation, after council officers found there was “little” duplication of services.
A report to last Tuesday’s council meeting said the council used the MAV membership, including participating in procurement activities but said the council made little use of is VLGA membership.
Cr Lawrie Cox, who is the council’s MAV representative said he wasn’t convinced the council should remain a member of the association.
“I have serious doubts of the benefits,” he said.
Cr Tom Joseph said he believed the council should not be members of either organisation as the annual fees – $55,628 for the MAV and $37,760 for VLGA – were a waste of ratepayers’ money.
Councillors Alahna Desiato and Caz Monteleone accused their colleagues of using the review as an attack on Cr Lalios.
Cr Monteleone said he was “ashamed” to be on the council.