Council quizzed on an in-principle agreement

MANSFIELD Shire councillors have been quizzed over their knowledge of an in-principle agreement relating to future management of Mansfield Family and Children’s Centre.

MANSFIELD Shire councillors have been quizzed over their knowledge of an in-principle agreement struck last year, between MACE and council, relating to future management of Mansfield Family and Children’s Centre.

Council’s finance committee of Murray Beattie, Mark Holcombe and former member Jim Osborne recently became aware of the agreement and met with Mayor Ray Robinson and councillors Russell Bate and Ellen Hogan to discuss it.

The committee did so after having put considerable time and effort into preparing for the new centre, and having argued early in 2014 for an open tender process to be awarded so that ‘fair rental’ could be established for the lease of the childcare centre.

Councillors chose to vote against this advice at their May 6 meeting this year, resolving to instead enter a lease with MACE, after advertising in December 2013 that council intended to do so.

The in-principle agreement was signed by council chief executive officer David Roff and MACE chair Graham Corless in April 2013, prior to construction on the centre commencing.

When contacted by the Mansfield Courier earlier this month Mr Roff initially said there was no such agreement, but later sent an email confirming there had been an in-principle agreement signed in April 2013, which stated the lease could not proceed until the requirements of the Local Government Act had been satisfied.

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