Rigby House ruckus continues

A review of its refurbishment continues.
A review of its refurbishment continues. Trevor Veale

ECHOES of last year’s dust-up over the refurbishment of Rigby House and the council administration building are still bouncing around the Coffs Harbour City Council.

Councillors considered a report on progress and actions arising from the Review of Refurbishment and Accommodation for Rigby House and Administration Offices at Thursday’s council meeting.

While signing off on the staff recommendation that the current status of implementation of improvements identified be noted, and a further report be prepared for the council in June, councillors added a footnote of their own.

They supported a motion moved by Cr Mark Graham and seconded by Cr John Arkan, that a review of delegations for all council staff, including those authorised to incur expenditure within the council’s allocated budget, be completed within one month and a report returned to the councillors. Cr Graham noted that such a review had been due for completion by December 2010, so was already three months late.

Cr Bill Palmer also extended an olive branch to council staff members, moving to note and recognise “the vast improvement for staff working conditions” which has resulted from the work, which went over budget on a massive scale before anyone blew the whistle.

The work cost $923,406 but only $98,251 was provided by the council as part of re-votes in September 2009 so $825,155 of work occurred without prior approval being sought from the councillors.

Concerns about administration surrounding the budget overrun is widely believed to have been a key component in the deterioration of the relationship between the mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, and the council’s previous general manager, Stephen Sawtell, last year.

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