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The Evening Post. THURSDAY, FEBRUARYO 10, 1876.

A dishonest attempt is being made by Mr. EL T. Gillon to mislead the ratepayers as to the real state of the Corporation affairs. It is said that the question at issue between the Council and the Auditors is merely one of book-keeping ; that the Auditors should have raised their objections a year ago ; and that the Municipal Corporations Act is so ambiguouslyworded that even the best lawyer in the Colony would be puzzled to say whether the Council in its manner of dealing with the accounts, has acted legally or not. The Auditors are also cautioned not to promote the present agitation, and informed that if they do so they may lose the advantage of their present position as masters of the situation. Now, all this is simply untrue and admits of complete refutation. The question at issue is not merely one of book-keeping. The City Accounts have not only beeu kept on a bad system, but discrepancies exist in them which cannot be explained on that ground. There has beeu no improper dealing with the city fuuds, but there are nevertheless discrepancies in the published figures, which are absolutely inexplicable. The incorrect valuati n of the Water Works, the discrepancy in the statement of the amount of arrears of rates, and the- grossly inaccurate manner in which the assets and liabilities have been set down, are all instances proving the truth of our assertions. It is baa to keep books on ft wrong system,

but it is much worse to prepare and publish the accounts of a Municipality in such a manner as to entirely mislead the ratepayers as to the real position of affairs. This has been done in" the present case, and the resolution adopted at the meeting of ratepayers on Tuesday night, that the City Corporation be requested to prepare a full and accurate statement of the City Accounts, was both justifiable and necessary. Mr. Gillon states that the Auditors should have made their objections a year ago. The effrontery of this assertion is characteristic. Mr. Gillon knows perfectly well that the Auditors, in their report of a year ago, dated 24th December, 1874, made a series of most important suggestions and objections to the Council, with respect to the manner in which the city accounts were kept. Had these suggestions been adopted, much of the present confusion would not have arisen. Mr. Waterhouse fell into a mistake with reference to this matter, in blaming the Auditors for not having objected at an early period to the wrong system which was growing up. They did so object, and got soundly rated by certain members of the Council for their temerity, in daring to call in question the absolute perfection of the existing system. The attempt to defend the illegal action of the Council in passing the city accounts, by saying that the Act is ambiguous, will not deceive any person of common sense. The language of the Act, as shown by one of the speakers at the late meeting, is so plain aud decided, that even a City Councillor could scarcely fail to understand it. The Act provides specially that certain things should be done, so as to ensure that before the City Accounts are passed they should be subjected to the closest scrutiny alike by the Auditors and ratepayers. Our charge against the Mayor aud members of the Council is that they purposely violated and evaded the Act, so as to get accounts passed to which the Auditors would not certify. Mr. E. T. Gillon, in his capacity as a Councillor, must accept the responsibility of permitting this illegal action ¦without making a vigorous protest against it. He certaiuly, after the wrong had been done, made an enquiry as to whether the opinion of" the City Solicitor had been taken on the subject, and, on being told it had not, did nothing more. After all his protestations about independence and going in for ictorm, the ratepayers expected better things of Councillor Gillon than that he should by silence endorse what was grossly wrong and illegal. We are afraid that in his capacity of Councillor Mr. Gillon is a very poor creature after all. It is easy to show the fallacy of Mr. Gillon's last assertion. The Auditors are not "masters of the situation." They have practically protested against the City Accounts being passed in their present shape and refused to certify them. Nevertheless the Mayor has passed the accounts, and the Council, Mr. Gillon included, has sanctioned and ratified the illegal act. It is, therefore, the wz'ong doers and the violators of the law who are at present " masters of the situation." They will not long continue to maintain that position, if the ratepayers are true to their own interets, and insist upon right being done in this matter. We trust that the ratepayers, as a whole, will encourage the movement which has begun to secure reforir in the management of city affairs and a proper system of keeping the city accounts. It is very desirable that the meeting of the Ratepayer's Association at Te Aro on Friday night should be well attended, so that .arrangements should be made to have the whole of the questions at issue as between the ratepayers and the Council submitted to a full meeting of the former at the Odd Fellow's Hall. If the ratepayers accept the advice-of Mr. Waterhouse, and take up this subject in earnest, a great public good will ultimately be achieved, despite the open hostility of the limes, and the ill-disguised opposition of that Brummagem civic patriot Councillor Edward Thomas Gillon.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP18760210.2.8

Bibliographic details

Evening Post, Evening Post, Volume XIII, Issue 34, 10 February 1876

Word Count
944

The Evening Post. THURSDAY, FEBRUARYO 10, 1876. Evening Post, Volume XIII, Issue 34, 10 February 1876

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