Sem2 Display 750x350 v1a (1).png

Public forum address - Oct 25th

Dear Editor, Here is my address to the Council meeting Tuesday 25th October 2016 Given I was unable to attend this Councils 1st Council meeting on the 11th October can I commence by congratulating everyone elected to the Eurobodalla Shire Council at the recent council election may the next 4 years be positive and a respectful experience for one and all. Good morning Mayor Innes, Councillors, General Manager, Staff, those who are present in the Gallery and my mum watching over me from above. My name is Patricia Hellier from Batemans Bay. I would like to start by drawing all councillors attention, especially the new Councillors, to the current Code of Meeting Practice page 1 – which states– “We are an engaged and connected community, We work together to achieve our goals” . At a previous Council meetings I have raised the fact that our Councils Agenda does not have the same provision that other Councils provide for their Councillors and Residents ,which I believe in leaves both Councillors and Residents in this shire at a disadvantage. Some Councils start their meeting with a Prayer, the Australian National Anthem, they have Public Question time, Questions Without Notice, Business Arising from the Minutes of the Previous Meeting and General Business, rather than just the Urgent Business that our Councillors are expected to operate under. Even though I was unable to be in attendance at this Council 1st meeting I did read the Agenda on-line and I hope all councillors received an email I sent in relation to the last Council meeting that I attended on the 9th August where I made reference to the fact that at the end of this meeting Clr. Gabi Harding raised an issue under Urgent Business. In the minutes of the meeting of the 9th August there is no reference to Gabi Harding speaking. I find this to be extremely disrespectful and I would hope that all Councillors, despite what political party or faction you may lean toward, would agree, especially given the fact that Gabi Harding served on Council for four years. In the email I sent to all the current councillors I also stated that a portion of this Council meetings Live Streaming had been edited and deleted, given that there were only 3 of the current councillors in attendance at the meeting of the 9th August I have to ask how could the remainder 5 new councillors present at the last meeting be asked to “confirm these minutes” as none of you were present at the meeting of the 9 th August 2016. Confirmation – is to corroborate circumstances or statement. If there was a provision on today’s Agenda for Business Arising from the previous Minutes I would have been able to raise these issue and other issues I have from watching the last meetings Live Streaming. I believe there needs to be a complete review of our Council’s Agenda with an emphasis on “transparency”, especially on many issues that are now governed under “confidentiality”, given that I have previously stated in Council meetings every time those chamber door are closed it creates “rumours and innuendo”. Again I remind you of my opening statement – We are an engaged and connected community – wework together to achieve our goals In viewing the Live Streaming of the last meeting I was amazed to hear a Councillor declare that a staff person is employed just to answer Mr Peter Bernard’s questions especially given that I have attended most, if not all, the meetings when Mr. Bernard has spoken and raised questions. I personally believe a qualified staff person should only take an hour to answer Mr Bernard’s questions. My question is what does that staff person do for the remainder of 7 hrs., if this person is in fact a “full time employee”? Given that Mr Bernard has apparently received a letter from the General Manager stating there was an “error” I would like to know was it Mr Bernard who discovered this error and raised this error in Council or was it this staff person that apparently has been employed to answer Mr Bernard’s questions who picked “up this error”? I would also like to know what action has been taken to rectify this error? I would also like to know, given that both the speakers prior to Mr Bernard at last week’s meeting have both asked questions in council meetings that I have attended and also raised the fact that they have had questions remained unanswered, is there staff employed just to answer these gentlemen's questions or is this privilege only extended to Mr Bernard? I believe there to be what I would call “an attitude” that appears to have developed towards Mr Bernard by an element associated with this Council, and at the meeting on the 9th August I heard a previous Councillor who was on the Audit Committee say to Mr Bernard who was speaking at the time to “Shut Up”. As this was said when the micro phone was turned off some may not have heard it. This Councillor then went on stating words to the effect that “Mr Bernard had wasted 20 minutes of his precious life”. Now I will remind all of my opening statement “ We are an engaged connected community – we work together to achieve our goals” Is the issue that Mr Bernard asks questions OR is it that it would appear that Mr. Bernard may have “found an error”? In watching the live streaming I noted Clr. Brown, in answering Clr. Nathan’s question, directing her to the councils “Delivery Programme” and other relevant documentation in relation to the Council being found Fit for the Future. I am now asking a similar question to the General Manager that a lot of rate payers of this shire also want to know the answer to ..... and I do not want to be directed to the “Delivery Program” or any other document. I would like, as a rate payer of this shire, a simple YES or NO answer and my question is “ Would this shire have been found Fit for the Future without the 21.6% Special Rate Variation ..... YES or NO”. I would also like to add, at this point in time, and far be it from me a woman correcting a man, that I noted that Clr. Anthony Mayne, while presenting his motion, appeared to be “in awe” as to the first time he walked into the gallery after the council election finding himself surrounded by the photos in the gallery of previous Mayors, from Chris Vardon to Lindsay Brown and those in between. Clr. Mayne then went on to state that Mayor Liz Innes was the first female Mayor/President , perhaps if Clr. Mayne had frequented previous Council meetings prior to the meeting in which the Licence of the Narooma Leisure Centre between Hunt Fest and the Animal Justice Party came to the Agenda, he would have been more familiar of previous issues in Council, and aware of previous Mayors, and known that Pam Green was the 1st female Mayor . In fact, in pre polling in 2012 election and, more recently during this election, a number of people commented to me that they believed that Pam was the best Mayor, to date, this shire had seen. I believe that Clr. Mayne should correct his statement. Thank you all for your time. Patricia Hellier

#Opinion #Council