During public question time at the meeting, New Norfolk resident Len Butterworth drew attention to a recent social media post by deputy mayor Ben Shaw.
In a Facebook post earlier this month, Cr Shaw said the council had engaged an independent investigator to look into accounting practices and methods past and present, and he had asked for a report to be tabled publicly. "In no way am I saying anything untoward has happened but clearly lots of things could have been done better for a long time," Cr Shaw said in his post. "Some people don’t want this to come out, but I feel to move forward it’s exactly what needs to happen."
Mr Butterworth said the post had also made reference to a staff member having been stood down subject to the outcome of the investigation, but when he telephoned the council he had been told the individual was on leave. "Which is correct? On leave? Stood down?" Mr Butterworth asked.
Mr Winton said he would not discuss individual staff members in an open council meeting. "The deputy mayor's post was about an independent investigation into accounting practices. From my recollection there was no reference to any individual within that post," he said.
"It's one of many actions that we have been taking to improve the reliability of information that is used by council to make decisions. There has been no adverse finding made about any Derwent Valley Council employee and it's inappropriate to speculate about staff conduct at a council meeting."
Later in councillor questions without notice, Cr Shaw asked the general manager if he could confirm that the council had actively taken steps to engage an external independent investigator to look into historical and recent accounting practices.
"If you can confirm this, can you please indicate the basis of the reason for taking this course of action, if you can, and can you please tell me the desired outcomes of the investigation and what they will be and how it will impact this council?" Cr Shaw said.
Mr Winton took the question on notice.