Official opening of the first stage of Nicholas Street development. Ipswich City Council administrator Greg Chemello.
Official opening of the first stage of Nicholas Street development. Ipswich City Council administrator Greg Chemello. Rob Williams

New council report details administrator's past 16 months

IPSWICH City Council has released a report detailing the past 16 months of administration.

The almost 20,000-word report has been penned by departing interim administrator Greg Chemello.

Mr Chemello was appointed interim administrator in August 2018 and finishes his tenure at Ipswich today before starting as Moreton Bay Regional Council CEO on Monday.

"While it has been very busy and challenging, not once have I regretted accepting the task of helping the Ipswich community and its council to address the problems of the past and set new foundations for the future," Mr Chemello says in the report.

"Not only have staff continued to deliver high levels of service, but they have done so while simultaneously taking up the challenge of reviewing, reforming and resetting many aspects of your council's strategies and operations."

The report highlights 26 specific aspects of council which have been changed during administration.

Each section of the report tells how things were before administration, what was done to repair any problems and set new directions and standards, and how things are now and into the future.

It also talks about what the community can expect from incoming councillors, and how they and council staff will be expected to behave within an environment of new and updated transparent governance policies and procedures.

The report details:

  • How the new integrity package will help the incoming mayor and councillors do their jobs lawfully and justly;
  • How the community should now be consulted prior to significant council decisions;
  • How up to a decade of mismanagement had led to a stagnant mall which is now well and truly undergoing a $250 million facelift;
  • How there had been too many outdated local laws and policies; and how they've been reduced in number and replaced with contemporary directions;
  • How the former shroud of secrecy over council-owned documents has been lifted to provide communities with better access to information;
  • How a culture of bullying and disrespect for policies and procedures is being addressed; and
  • How poor reporting has been modernised so the city is better placed to move ahead with major and significant projects.

"The Ipswich community rightly expects a high performing culture from their council," Mr Chemello said.

"Earlier in the week, I spoke about the council's whistleblower hotline which noted and acted upon 118 complaints.

"The types of issue raised by this hotline were in part responsible for some of the reforms achieved within this council over the past 16 months.

"Other transformations were as fundamental as just meeting our legal obligations. There were a number of areas of council which were simply not up to standards as required by legislation."

In his message to ratepayers, Mr Chemello says: "Much has been achieved and yes, while there is still more to do, I am confident that your council is well down the recovery pathway."

Today, he said: "I know some scepticism remains in the community. In large part, that is why I decided to prepare this report; so the Ipswich community can have a greater insight to the multitude of reforms we have driven.

"I sincerely believe that the people who are serving this city are now serving ratepayers and residents with far greater pride and integrity in the work they do.

"Over the past 16 months, I have always endeavoured to make decisions that were in the best interests of the residents and ratepayers of this city.

"And this report, highlighting our major achievements over this time, shows that we have set down a robust and clear platform for your new incoming elected mayor and councillors to continue in this vein.

"I wish the city well."

The report can be found HERE.

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