Council staff or Cowboys???

One Council yet so many issues ...

So frustrated am I that I have started a new facebook page at!/ProblemsWithYassValleyCouncil. I am determined to not just expose the farce but put pressure on the Council to do something about certain staff that are out of control!

It started 5 years ago when we were building the shed on our 5 acre block in Yass. We were given the wrong information about setbacks and this mistake has cost us thousands because of the extra excavation, additional amount for services, retaining walls etc. We put an amendment in during the construction (to remove a second garage door because where they told us we had to build the shed ended up being in a hole so the garage door on the plan was not in a functional place) and were originally told that we could not make the change because it would mean we could not turn a trailer around in the shed. What the hell????

As part of that amendment we also asked to drop the height of the awning slightly but were advised that as we would not be able to fit a four-wheel drive under it that it could not be approved. After much complaint, raising of voices and gnashing of teeth, the amendments were approved. FYI - the awning fits a light truck under it so I am not sure what type of four-wheel drive the staff member had in mind!

We wrote to the Council in March 2007 about these issues and the financial and other problems that their mistake had caused us, but to date we have not received a response. How is that for customer service!

As part of the DA for the shed we also put in an onsite septic system that the Council approved.

So 5 years on and we are told that they never did an approval to operate the septic system. So despite the fact that they approved it, that they have received quarterly maintenance reports over the last 5 years, that there is a commissioning certificate on file and that it has been operating for 5 years, they have only just realised this. Did I mention that it has been operating for 5 years!!!!!!

So this opened up a whole new can of worms when they advised the risk rating of our property and I asked how this was defined, only to be provided with a policy (and I use that term lightly) and upon review find that there rating cannot be supported. So several email requests later this went to the General Manager, who like all the others, choose not to comply with the policy. A visit to the Mayor seemed to do the trick and the risk rating has now been amended to what it should have been under the actual policy.

Whilst this was a small win (although not acknowledged that way as the GM obviously had to save face) the culture that exists with certain staff of the Council is disgraceful. There is a blatant disregard for rules and policies, an unwillingness to accept any responsibility and a history of saying whatever is convenient to cover things up.

We have Council elections soon but without changing certain staff (including certain senior staff) the Council will not be able to deliver for residents. I am hopeful that I can get enough people to rally around, like my page, add their own posts and share advice that it will put an end to their ways. It is well past time that these staff are held accountable for their actions!


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