16/06/2020 - 16:08

Town of Cambridge takes minister to court

16/06/2020 - 16:08

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The Town of Cambridge has launched legal proceedings against Local Government Minister David Templeman, on the same day it had been due to respond to the minister’s ‘show cause’ notice.

Town of Cambridge takes minister to court
David Templeman says he has reason to be concerned about the Town of Cambridge's management and governance. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The Town of Cambridge has launched legal proceedings against Local Government Minister David Templeman, on the same day it had been due to respond to the minister’s ‘show cause’ notice.

That notice, issued in late May, followed the completion of an inquiry into the town, which Mr Templeman said had given him reason to be concerned about the town’s ability to manage operations and provide good governance.

The council had 21 days in which to respond to the notice before a possible six-month suspension.

A brief statement attributed to the Town of Cambridge said it had been seeking an extension in its response time to the notice, as well as the release of the inquiry’s completed report.

Although both parties were due to meet in court this afternoon, the matter has now been adjourned until Thursday to allow Mr Templeman to seek further advice from the state solicitor’s office on the matter.

The Town of Cambridge said it had reiterated its request for procedural fairness as well as access to the particulars detailed in the inquiry’s report, while chief executive John Giorgi said he looked forward to resolving the matter as soon as possible.

Previously, Mayor Keri Shannon had called Mr Templeman’s actions inappropriate, and claimed the council had already addressed systemic issues within the organisation.

Ms Shannon echoed those comments in a letter to ratepayers dated June 8, in which she said the council had cooperated with the Department of Local Government during the inquiry, and that the director general had offered to withdraw it in November of last year.

She said the town had not yet seen the final report and that it had not yet been delivered to parliament.

“We appreciate there are issues which have raised the concern of the minister and we are eager to continue to work with the department to discuss and address the issues raised,” Ms Shannon said.

“We recognise the importance of elected members to ensure the local community are adequately and properly represented, and will be working to allay the minister’s concerns by providing a fulsome response to the show cause notice.”

A spokesperson for Mr Templeman declined to comment for this story.

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