Lismore City Council general manager Shelley Oldham, with Lismore mayor Isaac Smith.
Lismore City Council general manager Shelley Oldham, with Lismore mayor Isaac Smith. Marc Stapelberg

Senior council staff had 'unlimited' financial powers

A "SIGNIFICANT issue" has been uncovered within Lismore City Council management, after a review found a number of senior staff held "unlimited financial delegation".

According to a report going before the council's meeting tonight, a review of staff delegations had highlighted a number of historic delegations that required "urgent attention".

"The most significant issue was that a number of senior staff held unlimited financial delegation," the report states.

"This practice was put in place by previous leadership and has allowed staff other than the General Manager to authorise expenditure above the $250,000 limit set within the Procurement Policy.

"This authority was generally used to enter into packaged works arrangements with suppliers as part of Tender Panel processes delegated to the General Manager to award."

The staff report explains it is a "matter of priority" to address delegations.

"The impact of not having current and valid delegations in place is that increases financial and probity risks to Council," the report states.

"To this end, (general manager) Ms (Shelley) Oldham has reviewed and issued delegations to staff within the General Manager and Infrastructure Services Directorate as a priority."

The human resources department will also, as a priority, work with hiring managers to draft delegations during the development of position descriptions.

A new system will be introduced to automate a previously paper-based delegation process.

"Given the importance of delegations in the effective function of Local Government, this project is being prioritised to ensure standardised delegations are enacted and reported across the organisation as a priority," the council report states.

"It has a goal of ensuring consistency and coverage of delegations across the whole organisation, which will include merging the instruments of delegation for all three directorates into one standard format."