Honesty and openness are vital for public institutions

AS further details come to light about the tendering scandal at Shoalhaven City Council, the more bizarre the story becomes.It has emerged that councillors only became aware of the matter this year during the Gilmore Liberal Party preselection, whilesenior staff and members of the media had learned about it almost a year ago but could not report it because the information was given off the record. It was only when Mr Schultz came forward that we could make it public.The issue has placed the general manager Russ Pigg in an awkward position. Before the 2008 election, the old Shoalhaven Independents Group-dominated council often interfered in staffing and operational matters, including the infamous case of the Threatened Species Officer. Naturally, there was a shift to hand staff and operational control back to the general manager with the arrival of the new administration.As well intentioned as it was, the move was arguably overstepped in the case of the tendering scandal. This was clearly more than a simple staffing matter. It involved serious misconduct at a senior level.By keeping it quiet and not alerting councillors, suspicions have been raised.With a mechanism now in place where similar breaches will be reported to councillors and made public, that suspicion will no doubt subside.And a lesson will have been learnt: that honesty and openness are the best policies when it comes to public institutions.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.