In spite of claims, Ong stays in planning chair

COUNCILLOR Ken Ong will remain chairman of Melbourne City Council's planning committee, despite controversy during the recent elections when he revealed he had been offered bribes by a developer.

COUNCILLOR Ken Ong will remain chairman of Melbourne City Council's planning committee, despite controversy during the recent elections when he revealed he had been offered bribes by a developer.

The council is the subject of two investigations by the local government watchdog over allegations about developers.

The Local Government Inspectorate is examining allegations by a developer that he was asked for between $50,000 and $100,000 to fund Team Doyle's election campaign in return for special access.

And the inspectorate will also investigate Cr Ong's claim that he refused a developer's offer of a discounted apartment in return for planning assistance in 2010. In response to Cr Ong's claim, which he had not reported to police, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said Cr Ong's "inaction" showed he was "not fit for office".

Cr Ong will head the planning committee while new councillor and shareholder activist Stephen Mayne will be his deputy, with both appointments to be reviewed by the council in two years.

At the council's first meeting on Monday night other new appointments included Cr Doyle to the chair of major projects, Cr Mayne to chair the finance and governance portfolio and Cr Kevin Louey to chair the economic development portfolio.

The meeting was open to the public for seven minutes before it was closed to consider confidential items.

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