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SSC Newspaper : December 2015
THE SCENE WISHES ITS READERS A VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON PAGE 10 ONLINE AT www.ourstrathfield.com.au • DECEMBER 2015 FREE US ON FACEBOOK ‘SCAPEGOAT’ GENERAL MANAGER QUIZZED AS COUNCIL BRACES FOR MERGER DECISION NEXT WEEK FULL STORY PAGE 9 By Peter Lynch Strathfield’s veteran general manager, David Backhouse, has been made the focus of an inquiry into procurement and other practices by Liberal Mayor Sang Ok. The move, which has astonished some councillors and caused concern among staff, came to light this week as the municipality braced for a state government decision on amalgamation next week. Mr Backhouse was called to a meeting with Cr Ok, former mayor Gulian Vaccari and a recently appointed consultant Stephen Blackadder. Mr Backhouse, a popular figure in Strathfield for more than three decades, has been at the forefront of the community campaign to halt forced council amalgamations. He was handed a nine-page document with more than 31 questions just before Tuesday’s monthly council meeting, along with a demand that replies be received by Monday, December 7. Cr Ok said he would be reporting to an extraordinary council meeting on Wednesday, December 9, adding: “Please note I will report to the council on any information provided by you or not provided by you.” Cr Ok told the Scene the document was “confidential” – even though it had been sent to every councillor. He said: “I’m simply implementing the recommendation of the Office of Local Government (OLG). I called an extraordinary meeting next week to consider the response of the general manager and probably make a decision. “David engaged his lawyer, I engaged my legal services, so now it is a legal matter.” The document, in the form of a memorandum to the general manager, claims a 430 investigation into council procedures was “damning on the administration you [Mr Backhouse] lead”. “Council therefore has a clear responsibility to review your conduct, performance and capabilities,” it continues. The memorandum adds Cr Ok has given the OLG an undertaking to report on council actions concerning the 430 investigation on a monthly basis. Mr Backhouse has hired a lawyer and intends to fight the claims. “He is being made a scapegoat because the Liberal councillors haven’t been able to deliver Strathfield as a merger council,” said a source. CAROLS SONGBOOK BUMPER HOLIDAY CALENDAR Melanie Eedens (front right) and fellow Strathfield Girls High School students FULL STORY PG 6 PAGE 14 MELANIE’S CHRISTMAS GIFT TO CAMBODIAN SCHOOLS STRAT HFIELD Christmas Lights FIRST PRIZE $250 COLES MYER GIFT VOUCHER SECOND PRIZE $150 COLES MYER GIFT VOUCHER THIRD PRIZE $100 COLES MYER GIFT VOUCHER For more information contact Council on 9748 9999 or visit www.strathfield.nsw.gov.au COMPETITION