When Council was considering the renewal of its membership in August this year, the resolution stated that Council ‘Reluctantly renew its membership of the MAV for the coming year’. Council’s decision to not have a Boroondara representative at the MAV is entirely consistent with its previously expressed concern regarding the performance of the MAV Board and its administration.
Here is a letter I sent to the MAV explaining our position.
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR BOROONDARA
14 December 2016
Councillor Coral Ross Interim President Municipal Association of Victoria Level 12 60 Collins Street MELBOURNE VIC 3000
Dear Cr Ross
I am writing to advise the MAV that Boroondara has resolved not to appoint a representative to the MAV. Some of Council’s reasons for taking this position are set out below. The Victorian Auditor General’s Report ‘Effectiveness of Support for Local Government’ in February 2015 raised significant concerns within Council regarding serious governance deficiencies at the MAV.
Following that report (on 17 March 2015) our Chief Executive Officer, Phillip Storer, wrote to then President Cr Bill McArthur alerting him to Council’s concerns given the high standards expected of the MAV as the sector’s peak body.
After our Council meeting on 24 August 2015, Council again wrote to the MAV highlighting Council’s expectation that very significant progress would be made in the ensuing 12 months towards addressing the issues identified in the VAGO report (refer letter to Cr Bill McArthur dated 27 August 2015).
The MAV’s response to the VAGO report and performance as a peak body over the preceding 12 months prompted Council to further resolve on 22 August 2016 to write to the MAV:
“advising that Council remains of the view that the MAV has failed to adequately discharge its obligations to its members as a peak body for the local government sector with particular reference to governance and reputation management in the Victorian community”.
Council has also had cause to be concerned about the competing priorities between the MAV’s business interests, and its role as the statutory peak body for local government. On 1 June 2016, Council wrote to Ms Anne Murphy, Chair of the MAV Insurance Board, to express Council’s concern regarding the value for money offered by the MAV Liability Mutual Scheme. This followed a competitive tender for insurance brokerage services that resulted in significant savings to Boroondara when compared with the amounts Council has been contributing in previous years to the MAV Liability Mutual Scheme.
Council remained sufficiently concerned, notwithstanding the response received from Chief Executive Officer Rob Spence, dated 12 July 2016, to further resolve at its meeting on 22 August 2016, to:
“Request the Victorian Auditor General to investigate in detail the functioning of the MAV mutual insurance scheme with a particular focus on the lack of transparency in the determination of insurance premiums applied to different members, the proportion of funds distributed to the MAV, the margin taken by the insurer and that particular attention be paid to the issues raised in the officer report.”
Council is also not alone in its dissatisfaction with the MAV. The sector’s concern regarding the MAV’s performance is clearly evidenced by the following resolution passed at the State Council meeting in May 2016:
“That in response to the unprecedented challenges facing the local government sector:
- This MAV State Council meeting reaffirms its commitment to MAV being modern, membership driven peak body that is able to serve its constituency’s diverse requirements, while delivering high levels of membership satisfaction;
- MAV State Council receives direct reports from Deloittes and Ernst and Young on their work undertaken on improved MAV Governance and MAV Performance Measures, and,
- That the following matters be referred to the MAV Municipal Association Act and
Rules Review Taskforce, as advised by the MAV in April 2016, with a future
report to be provided to MAV State Council on the Taskforce’s recommendations:
- A comprehensive survey of membership ‘satisfaction with and future expectations of the MAV.
- A clear Statement of expected performance against which the MAV can demonstrate its effectiveness over time.
- Proposals for effective governance structures and processes, including consultation with the sector including the structure and process for election of Board membership
- Examination of limited tenure for all Board positions and the Presidency.
- Strong processes for the development of sector policy and advocacy strategies, and MAV organisational policies and strategies.
- An examination of how MAV programs and initiatives, be they commercial or otherwise, are evaluated for performance and outcomes.”
At the Council meeting on 22 August 2016, I and other Councillors acknowledged the efforts by you as our MAV representative to influence change within the MAV over a period of many years. Despite your sustained efforts as the South-East Region MAV representative; Board member; MAV Deputy President and most recently as MAV Interim President, the pace of organisational change at the MAV remains unchanged, and Council’s concerns about the efficacy of the MAV’s representation of the sector have not been allayed.
Such is Council’s concern with the poor performance of the previous board and the administration at the MAV, that this new Council resolved at our meeting on Monday 12 December 2016, not to appoint an MAV representative for 2016-17. Council is of the view that this is an appropriate means to demonstrate our continued disappointment with the MAV.
Council will watch the next round of MAV Board elections with great interest. It is our hope that in 2017, new leadership at both the Board and executive level, together with a comprehensive review of the Municipal Association Act 1907, will deliver to the sector a reinvigorated, relevant organisation that will once again attract the full support of this Council and the broader community.
Phillip Healey MAYOR