Hay Shire mayor Bill Sheaffe has welcomed changes to the credit card rules for councils but questioned the need for a new investigation.
The NSW Government this week launched a crackdown on council use of credit cards in response to allegations that have snared both Hay Shire and Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional councils.
Cootamundra-Gundagai councilors voted on Thursday to suspend general manager Allen Dwyer with pay pending the outcome of an independent investigation into his credit card usage.
It has been claimed that Mr Dwyer, while working for Hay Shire, spent more than $500,000 on a corporate credit card and cash advances.
Cr Sheaffe said he was “surprised” that NSW Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton requested the Office of Local Government to launch a formal investigation into Hay Shire Council.
Cr Sheaffe said the council had received a letter from the Office of Local Government February 1 stating “The Auditor-General has written to me to advise that, from a financial audit perspective, she is satisfied that the recommendations made by the previous auditor have been implemented”.
According to Cr Sheaffe, the letter went on to state that the Auditor general “indicated that she is not proposing to take any further action in respect of these matters”.
“Office of Local Government will not be pursuing this matter further given the Auditor-General’s assessment.
“However, given the seriousness of the matters that were identified, it is clearly important that Council is diligent in ensuring that it maintains an adequate internal control system and that it implements any recommendations made following the 2016/17 audit.”
Hay Shire’s new general manager Amanda Spalding said she had written to the Office of Local Government and “sought assurances about the status of the concerns over the use of council’s corporate credit card”.
“I was reassured that the matter was not going to be pursued any further,” Ms Spalding said.