Today’s special council meeting – what’s up?

So, what is on the agenda for today’s Special Council meeting (11 am, Council Chambers)?
Let’s begin our review with the need to appoint acting and, soon, permanent directors for three key municipal departments.
Council has not done a very good job finding permanent directors for the Community Services and the Corporate Services departments. In fact, they haven’t even been able to meet their deadline for reappointing acting directors. The appointment of Community Services Acting Director Richard Mayer has already expired. Which raises the interesting question: what is the legal status of the decisions he has taken since then? Then, there is the need to appoint an Acting Corporate Services Director to replace Melony Paulsen. At least one prospective candidate has refused the appointment. It seems that nobody wants the job. Why is that? And then, of course, the process of appointing permanent directors for both departments must be completed. What has been done so far, and how much longer must these departments operate under acting directors? Finally, there is the issue of finding someone to replace Technical Services Director Michael Rhode, whose contract will soon expire. Will a replacement be chosen in time, or will Council soon have to appoint an acting director for that department as well? Our Administration has been hobbled by the absence of permanent directors for some time now, just as it was hamstrung in the past financial year by a string of short-lived appointments to the position of acting municipal manager following Grant Easton’s resignation in the middle of his disciplinary proceeding. Knysna faces a number of serious challenges, and permanent directors need to be in the saddle, and working together, to meet those challenges.
Next, let’s take a look at the report of the Audit Committee, which is at the top of the agenda. This year, the municipality did not achieve a clean audit, but a “financially unqualified audit”. We expect that the Audit Committee’s chairman will explain the difference during his presentation this morning.
What are the highlights of the Audit Committee’s findings, as set out in their report?
The report points out that the AG found that the audit action plan arising out of his audit report last year had not been adequately monitored by leadership and management. Problems that had been identified in the areas of predetermined objectives, procurement, contract management and financial reporting were not followed up on. We have pointed out the serious problems with the procurement process, and the lack of contract management, in previous posts, and in the local press. There is no real management of outside contractors appointed by the municipality to carry out specific projects. This leads to spectacular failures.
The Audit Committee then goes on to point out their surprise at the AG’s failure to make material findings on non-compliance in the areas of procurement, and consequence management (to be continued).