Outspoken Wagga councillor Paul Funnell has publicly called on mayor Rod Kendall to resign over the role he played in the Douglas Aerospace fiasco.
The full details of what went on at council during its dealings with Douglas Aerospace were revealed this week with the long-awaited release of an external audit report into the commercial arrangements.
The report painted a damning and chaotic picture of how council handled the deal – punctuated by consistent inaction and a lack of due diligence – though it found staff were ultimately responsible for the shortcomings identified.
Cr Funnell, however, believes the mayor has to take a degree of responsibility for the events that unfolded.
“I believe the mayor should resign,” he said.
“The mayor moved the motion to put (the Douglas Aerospace loan) forward in the first place, he never asked any questions. He protected the whole situation – being the former general manager (Phil Pinyon) and the organisation – and I believe was complicit in the whole situation.”
Fellow councillor Andrew Negline stopped short of backing Cr Funnell’s calls on Thursday, but said council and the wider community were “paying the price” for the mismanagement of the Douglas arrangement.
“The fact some councillors supported the former general manager and some senior staff provided an unhealthy environment for council to conduct its affairs,” he said.
“What that did was put some councillors in a distressed and distraught frame of mind because of that environment. Common sense did not prevail on many issues.”
The external audit of the saga ultimately concluded that the commercial arrangement to loan Douglas Aerospace $2.5 million should not have proceeded.
Cr Kendall said the decision to proceed with that, along with all resolutions of council, however, were “made by all councillors”.
Picking up the pieces following the release of the report on Tuesday will be an “ongoing process”, according to Julian McLaren, who said there would be “a lot more” going on behind the scenes to rectify the situation.
“I was not shocked by anything in that document because I was already aware of what had happened,” he said. “All that report did was merely confirm my worst fears. The implementation of it was absolutely diabolical.”
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