Littleproud fires back in fee row

WARWICK Chamber of Commerce and Industry president David Littleproud has hit back at Mayor Ron Bellingham’s comments in Monday’s Daily News that his statements about council expenditure on consultants were simplistic.

Mr Littleproud said in the 2009/10 year alone the council spent nearly $450,000 for 16 plans in consultants’ fees for a myriad of projects which experienced staff in the council could have undertaken.

“Some of these include consultancy on records management, asset management, cultural development and a sustainable energy strategy, just to name of few,” he said.

“One has to question why we pay consultancy on projects such as these when we pay qualified staff that could quite easily fulfil these plans.

“The chamber acknowledges from time to time they need to bring in specialised advice for intricate matters but spending $450,000 on outside consultants on smaller issues is just nonsense.”

Council chief executive Rod Ferguson said the issue was far more complicated than that and it was difficult for people outside the organisation to understand.

“There are a range of factors that contribute to council hiring outside consultants,” he said.

“Council only engages consultants when there is a need to do so, at times it is because we don’t have the expertise in-house, such as dam safety required by the State Government – we don’t have a hydrologist.

“Just because we have the expertise doesn’t always mean they have the time to do it. Our officers have their day-to- day jobs they have to do and sometimes these jobs are just one-offs.”



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