Council's GovHub decision treated residents disrespectfully.
Records reveal, council shut residents out, fearful of opposition to a contrived officer/government process.
No Council election candidate raised selling Council Chambers and renting costly new offices.
Though fiercely opposed by officers, the 2013 Independent Review became their Trojan Horse.
After guiding the Review consultants, officers enthusiastically accepted recommendation 11, "Advocate and plan for the consolidation of CoGB offices".
Council deceptively claims office consolidation resulted from community consultation.
None of the Review's 129 public submissions identified office consolidation.
Between July 2013 and June 2016, silence.
Council locked office consolidation inside a closed committee awaiting government arrangements to fall into place. No articles.
Not even the council's 2016 Citizens' Jury Briefing Book or the Citizen's Jury Final Report identified office consolidation.
In those foggy years, chief executive officer Craig Niemann was on a government committee that recommended one-stop GovHubs.
May 2016, government regional director Stan Liacos (former council director) briefed Councillors promising one-stop sweeteners.
Mayor Fyffe, without a Council resolution, wrote seeking a front seat; other unexplored options into the boot.
Office consolidation morphed to land sale and GovHub co-location.
Surprise! Of seven possible sites, government selects council's.
Information heavily controlled. Rules marginalised. No comparative project analysis.
Financials blurred. Elastic efficiency, service, employment, and CBD claims. Committed to be a tenant before land sale. Parking unresolved.
Uncomprehending councillors complied.
Greater Bendigo's best minds would have helped find better productive outcomes.
COVID-19 ignored. Ironic, council's priority remains a plush office. But for stressed rate-paying businesses and residents, it's a matter of survival.
Happy to publicly debate.
Ted Coleman, Strathfieldsaye
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