Subject: Timor trip query

The Courier

Timor trip query


Monday, 23 June 2003

BALLARAT City Council will be asked to justify sending a departing staff member on an all-expenses paid trip to East Timor.

Mayor David Vendy and council staff members Andrew Miller and Andrew Crowley will form part of an 11-person delegation due to arrive in East Timor on Saturday.

Council employees and some councillors are questioning the benefits of including community development manager Mr Crowley on the $2500-per-person trip when he is due to take up a position with Surf Coast Shire Council next month.

Cr Vendy said he was aware council staff were querying Mr Crowley's inclusion now that he had resigned.

"I understand the dilemma, but I'm told he's very keen to go and is an expert in bringing it all together," he said.

"I was told by the CEO he was the best man for the job because he has been heavily involved with East Timor for quite a while.

"Some staff have asked me the reasons why he is still going and I have explained the line of the CEO.

"On the surface it probably doesn't seem right, but under the surface, I'm told he's the right man for the job."

City of Ballarat CEO John McLean said Mr Crowley, who was on paid annual leave, was undertaking a short-term role in East Timor as a technical expert and consultant, helping to co-ordinate a community development plan.

"I feel very comfortable with Andrew (Crowley) going and this is not a holiday, this will be tough conditions in which to work and travel in," he said.

"Andrew offers by far the best expertise and knowledge and council supported that decision."

Councillor Peter Innes said he was aware of some people's concerns and planned to raise Mr Crowley's inclusion on the controversial trip at Wednesday night's council meeting.

The Ballarat delegation of city professionals is travelling to East Timor to seek projects that offer mutual benefit while strengthening ties with the East Timorese.

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