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NEWS DESK

Expert called in over CEO’s job Keith Platt keith@mpnews.com.au MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire councillors are hiring a consultant to help review the performance and pay of CEO Carl Cowie. The “suitably qualified and experienced consultant” is scheduled to start work on 1 April, a Sunday eight weeks before councillors decide whether to advertise the position or renew and renegotiate Mr Cowie’s contract. The contract for shire’s top job which comes with a salary package of more than $400,000 and a $30,000 study allowance – expires in November and Mr Cowie has to be told six months’ ahead if councillors intend to advertise the position. The shire’s advertisement says the

consultant chosen for the CEO review would work with council on “fulfilling its statutory responsibilities outlined in the Local Government Act 1989, concerning chief executive officer (CEO) employment matters”. The ad is being run under the heading “CEO performance review, remuneration and appointment processes”. While no consultant’s fees are mentioned in the advertisement, in the four years before October 2016 council paid former Kingston mayor Topsy Petchey $70,600 for advice to councillors and help with performance reviews. The consultant is also being hired at a time Mr Cowie is facing criticism for not listing in the shire’s “gifts register” a Mediterranean cruise he took with his wife aboard a liner hired by trucking magnate and high profile Portsea

ratepayer, Lindsay Fox. Mr Cowie says he does not have to list the seven-day cruise in July 2015 as he was on leave from council and it was made at no expense to the shire. While Mr Cowie has called publicity over his trip “a distraction”, the mayor Cr Bryan Payne sees it as “a real topic”. A former municipal CEO, Cr Payne has told The News that he would not have accepted Mr Fox’s invitation. While Mr Cowie is continuing to resist pressure from councillors to list the cruise in the gifts register, the councillors have decided to open the register to the public, albeit by appointment (“Opening the books on shire gifts” The News 6/2/18). Meanwhile, the consultant being sought by councillors will help with: n Annual performance reviews of [the]

CEO, including assisting … with recommendations to council as a result of performance reviews. n Review of remuneration and conditions of employment of the CEO. n The process relating to the appointment of CEO. The advertisement describes the consultant’s role as: “The successful consultant will work in close collaboration with the ‘committee of the whole’, CEO and relevant shire officers, and will be required to attend meetings at the shire’s Rosebud office. The service will commence 1 April 2018 and will not require the consultant to work full time; the time required will vary over the term of engagement subject to the requirements of council’s committee.” As well as making the gifts register publicly available councillors have

also called for a review of the “definitions” of words used in the Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy, an “internal document” that is also now publicly available. A review of the policy by councillors and council officers is designed “to ensure that any ambiguity is addressed in a clear and meaningful manner,” Mr Cowie stated in a news release following last week’s decision by councillors. Benefit, as defined in the current policy is defined in part as “something which is believed to be of benefit to the receiver” and can include accommodation and recreation trips. A news release from the shire said making the gifts policy and register public would “ensure the organisation meets public expectations around transparency and the disclosure of gifts”.

Holidays forged a peninsula lifestyle

Surf skier may have had heart attack

Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au

CAPE Schanck man Jeffery Coote drowned after capsizing his surf ski at Rye front beach, 1 March 2017. In a report released last month, coroner Audrey Jamieson found that Mr Coote, 83, a retired policeman, possibly had a heart attack before tipping over near the Rye Yacht Club and died after being unable to right himself. Mr Coote and wife Jeanette met as teenagers at Mordialloc Life Saving Club where they were later made life members. They married in 1955 and had three children. A diabetic with an extensive medical history, Mr Coote was described as an experienced board rider involved in water activities all his life. He was “generally of good health and very active for his age”. However, the coroner also found that “on occasions he would make unusual decisions when his insulin levels were low”. On the morning of his death he was not wearing a life jacket and, reportedly, “never wore one”. Jet skiers Benjamin Peter and Clayton Greenbury said they saw a board upside down about 150 metres offshore with a man underneath attached by a waist strap. Speeding to shore, Mr Peter raised the alarm and asked people on the beach to call 000. He ran to the yacht club for help and then and Mr Greenbury took their jet-ski back out to bring Mr Coote to shore. Members of the public began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and used a defibrillator from the club to try to revive Mr Coote before ambulance paramedics arrived and took over. He could not be revived and was pronounced dead at 11.10am. Stephen Taylor

HOLIDAYS spent camping on the foreshore allowed Kath and Jack Whiston and their young family to discover the beauty of the West Rosebud area (as it was known then) back in 1951. Staying in a hired caravan at first, and then in a caravan Jack made, the family enjoyed the simple pleasures of singalongs, sailing and fishing in the days before electric lights and home appliances. “You looked out for the iceman coming through the tracks each day with his horse and cart,” daughter Kaye said. “Dad made his own van and the tradition of camping on the foreshore continued for over 40 years,” she said. “Summer-time friends were made during this annual break and rekindled each year.” Last week, Kathleen, born in 1926 and husband Arthur – better known as Jack – born in 1925, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary as permanent residents of Capel Sound where they have enjoyed the beach lifestyle since moving down permanently six years ago. Growing up as teenagers in the 1930s, Kath and Jack lived in the Merlynston/Coburg area and attended local dances, meeting at the St Linus Church hall when aged 16 and 17. In 1944, Mr Whiston joined the Air Force and was sent to New Guinea until 1946. While he was away, he and Kath corresponded but did not start seriously “courting” – or “tracking square’’ as it was called then – until he returned to Melbourne. Two years later they married at St Paul’s Church, Coburg. Mr Whiston had already bought their first home in Coburg, which was unusual in the tough times after the war. They spent the next 30 years there raising their daughters: Bev, who

Life partners: Kathleen and Jack Whiston prepare to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary last week. Picture: Supplied

came along in 1950, followed by Kaye almost 10 years later. From Coburg, they moved to Eaglemont where they spent another 30 years. Dancing always played a big part in their lives and they made good friends at the St Thomas Moore dances in their early days, dinner dances, and at Murrumbeena Bowling Club. Mr Whiston worked hard to establish his taxi business and later managed a fleet of cars from home. He was still heavily involved in the taxi industry until only a few months ago. The camping lifestyle continued when Bev and husband David’s two children, Adam and Claire, came along and camped on their own site alongside her parents’ caravan for many years. Claire and Adam married Dave and Tanya and have three daughters each. Mr and Mrs Whiston feel very fortunate to have six great-granddaughters ranging in age from 3-11. When Kaye and partner John built at Capel Sound 10 years ago, Mr and Mrs Whiston found

a modern home nearby and moved there six years ago. Gardening has been an ongoing interest and they have always had extensive gardens. “Even now they can still be found pottering around in the garden,” Bev said. Mr and Mrs Whiston have travelled extensively around Australia in their caravan over the years, and have also travelled to Thailand, Singapore and Hawaii. A highlight of their travels was three months spent driving throughout the United States and Canada in a motor home. Many September holidays were spent in Caloundra and Noosa and, over the past few years, they have been able to briefly escape Melbourne’s winter in Port Douglas. Above all, family has always played a vital role in the couple’s life, and they were looking forward to celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary with family at the Hellenic Republic in Brunswick last week.

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20 February 2018

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20 February 2018  

Southern Peninsula News 20 February 2018

20 February 2018  

Southern Peninsula News 20 February 2018

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