Corruption watchdog raids offices

Former Rodney District Council chief executive officer Rodger Kerr-Newell.

The Australian Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has raided the council offices run by former Rodney District Council chief executive Rodger Kerr-Newell.

Mr Kerr-Newell moved to Halls Creek Shire, a remote region in northern Western Australia, after being on secondment to the Auckland Transition Authority, the forerunner of the amalgamated Auckland Council, in 2010.

Former Rodney director and planning development manager Lloyd Barton joined him on the Halls Creek council shortly afterwards, serving as Mr Kerr-Newell’s corporate services director.

The CCC is conducting a serious misconduct investigation, involving several local councils, and will only say at this stage that it has executed search warrants to secure evidence that will contribute to its investigation.

Shortly after the raid at the end of last month, The Halls Creek Herald newspaper reported that it had been threatened with legal action by a legal firm working for the council.

During his last 12 months with Rodney, Mr Kerr-Newell received in excess of $700,000 as chief executive. He was in the job for only two-and-a-half years and his termination package of $349,000 was the highest of any of the outgoing Council chief executives.

At its dissolution, Rodney was one of the most indebted councils in the Auckland region.

Auckland Councillor John Watson, who served on Rodney District Council, says it will be very interesting to see what emerges from the commission investigation in Australia.

In 2010, Cr Watson tried to get Auckland Council to recover $42,000 paid to Mr Kerr-Newell by the former Rodney District Council during the last days of the council – $35,000 in lieu of ‘untaken professional development’ and $7000 for ‘not having an opportunity to receive career transition advice’.

While Council admitted that Rodney was, “... not contractually obliged” to pay Mr Kerr-Newell the payments and agreed with the Auditor-General that these payments “…breached the Transitional Provisions Act”, it said they had no power to require repayment.

Two former Rodney council transport managers were found guilty of bribery and corruption in the High Court. Murray Noone is serving a five-year prison sentence after being found guilty of receiving $1.1 million in bribes and Barry George was given 10 months home detention on similar charges. A number of other Auckland Transport staff who had worked for Rodney were dismissed from their jobs.

Cr Watson says that there will be many people throughout Rodney who will be following these latest developments in Australia with much interest.

Media release from Halls Creek Shire Council, issued on October 3:

The Shire of Halls Creek has always and remains an entirely transparent publicly regulated organisation, committed to providing its residents with quality services and facilities.

Given the CCC role within the Public Sector is aimed at maintaining the Western

Australian community confidence that public officers act with integrity and in the public interest, the Shire of Halls Creek welcomes and intends to cooperate fully with any investigation.

Once it is legally appropriate to do so, the Shire of Halls Creek will inform the community as to the outcome of any investigation.

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@ Haiwa

Posted on 01-11-2017 15:27 | By TERMITE

Sounds great, perhaps you should take a look at the "other" parties ex RDC that have been convicted i.e. Auckland transport department staff taking back handers, they were out of RDC. There is a hell of a mess that has yet to catch up on these two (and others) they have scarppered away attempting to hide in some Aussie back water and clearly among people of a similar ilk based on Australia’s history (historical fact). Mate the convictions and these two are but the tip of the iceberg!

So far I dont see what these gentlemen have done wrong.

Posted on 01-11-2017 13:55 | By Haiwa Tigere

Its not a crime to negotiate yourself a fat salary. Its not a crime to negotiate yourself a fat exit package. Hell we all wish we had the wherewithall to do so.Your story simply says the man is good dammned good at negotiating things a trait which would hold him in good stead when negotiating for the council or shire he represents.. These two have not been charged with a crime let alone convicted of one then why the smear campaign.The other man LLoyd Barton hardly gets a mention in the article yet his photo is splashed on your article.I am in Halls creek Australia and we were alerted to this article and rushed to see whats new. Answer NOTHING . No meat on this bone nada . You have ruined 2 peoples reputations without offering any proof

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