One man’s protest outside shire office

December 28, 2017

Tocumwal’s Stephen Haynes formed a one-man picket line outside the Berrigan Shire office last week, protesting council’s use of contractors from outside the shire.

The local earthmoving contractor parked his three large trucks outside the council office in Chanter St with ‘For Sale’ signs across each windscreen.

‘‘I was protesting because I have an issue with Berrigan Shire using contractors from Victorian towns such as Shepparton,’’ Mr Haynes said.

‘‘It wasn’t meant to be a huge protest; I stayed for a couple of hours to prove my point.

‘‘I don’t want this to blow up into something huge but it’s important to make people aware of what’s happening.

‘‘They should be using local services, from their own ratepayers.

‘‘I’ve been told by the shire the outside contractors are cheaper.

‘‘I’ve worked with the shire for 28 years and it’s unfair. All I want to do is send a message to say I’m not happy, and I know I’m not the only one,’’ Mr Haynes said.

During March and April the shire undertakes an annual tender process to select which contractors it will use during the following financial year.

Director of technical services Fred Exton said council takes into consideration cost when selecting its contractors.

‘‘We look to get the best value for our community in line with council adopted pecuniary process.

‘‘Sometimes price is a factor and we have an obligation to acknowledge that, however there’s more than just price.

‘‘We also take into account overall service and haulage.

‘‘Unfortunately, there are some contractors who don’t get selected and we use services from places like Cobram to get the best overall value.

‘‘Stephen has been very good for us in the past, we have no issue with him protesting and are happy to discuss this further with him.

‘‘When the next tender process comes forward I encourage him to again offer his services,’’ Mr Exton said.

Mr Haynes said he was prepared to work with the council in the future.

‘‘I believe we can negotiate new deals,’’ Mr Haynes said.

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