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Thursday, 11.15.2018
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A Culture Of Spending Part 6 - Others should pay for council arrogance

The councils do not want to pay for the cost litigation at VCAT. They say, "The impost of the current cost to Victorian Local Government in defending such litigation is lifted from the sector" (page 1013, minutes)

Do you know that local councils, and in particular Manningham Council, are often the cause of much of the litigation they get involved in.

One of the first articles I wrote on this website is about a developer who worked closely with Manningham council over a 12 month period to ensure that his building plans complied with all of Manningham's planning rules. For him, this was an expensive and time consuming process as he invested time and money working with the council and modified his plans. Eventually he got a letter from Manningham council saying his plans complied in all areas.

Then his plans came to the council meeting. A few of the newly elected councillors did not like what they saw. So they rejected his plans, even though they were entirely compliant with all of Manninghams design rules.

But it got even sillier than that.

To justify the ridiculous position the councillors had taken, they actually ignored all the work the council had done with the developer over the 12 month period and pretended it never happened.

They went back to his original plans and said, 'look these plans are no good'. They don't comply with all of our rules. (Which of course they didn't. That was why the developer spent 12 months working with the council to ensure they did.)

Can you think of anything more silly than this. The developer has a letter in his hand from Manningham council saying the final version of his plans comply with all Manningham's design rules. And our silly council thinks they can win at VCAT by presenting his original unmodified plans and pretending all the work of modifying the plans over 12 months never took place!

The reason why we have design rules is to create a level playing field so everyone knows what they can do and what is required of them. People in private enterprise appreciate the value of knowing the rules.

But apparently Manningham council sees the purpose of design rules very differently. They think they can refer to the rules when it suits them, then throw them out the window when they do not. Only people who have worked all their lives in government can be so arrogant.

On the other hand, the ordinary person on the street tends to see the council design rules more like laws which should be applied evenhandedly to everyone and respected by everyone.

If this case ever ended up at VCAT, Manningham council would probably be be laughed out of court and ordered to pay costs.

Situations like this happen to be the reason for most of the disputes at VCAT.

If developers plans simply do not comply with the design rules then they will go no where. It is when the plans comply with the design rules or are believed to comply with the design rules that disputes arise.

Some people in Manningham Council do not like what their own design rules allow. They object to the plans and then it ends up at VCAT.

And now the council does not like having to pay for the litigation at  VCAT!

The ridiculous thing about all this is that Manningham council is actually responsible for the design rules. Apparently they cannot muster the intellectual horsepower necessary to set the rules up and word them in such a way so they get what they want and are clear to everyone.

At this meeting I attended, one of the more experienced and sensible councillors said that Manningham council should change the design rules so the council gets what they want from them. This request was met with stony silence. It was totally ignored. Not one of the other elected councillors said anything to support it.

The way of the government bureaucrat is arrogance and to play the bully to get what they want. And how dare anyone suggest that they change their ways and do a better job.

And now Manningham council wants someone else to pay for their arrogance and the consequences of their own inability to manage both processes and rules.


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