Editorial August 4th, 2017
Welcome to this week’s editorial, Thank you to the readers who emailed saying how much they appreciated last weeks Editorial that was political. Comments were offered that it was about time a spot light was put on what was going on in Council because “they have been getting away with blue murder for ages and running their own race with our money” This week we continue with an item that has gained considerable interest over the last week. In a nut shell, as we covered last weekend, Council met on June 13th and in their agenda they had two Confidential Matters. No one knew what they were and it was advised by a senior staff member that the Local Government Act said it was quite OK not to state what the matters were. Turns out this was BAD advice because the Office of Local Government came down on them saying that they had to be open. The Office of Local Government also said that the minutes of Confidential Agenda Items had to be minuted correctly and made available to the public with names and details, if confidential, redacted. So the Mayor announced in her Mayoral report that that is what they shall do “in this term of Council” and basically admitted that they had been doing the wrong thing with confidential minutes for years. But it doesn’t stop there. The Council put out a Public Notice in the local paper simply saying: PUBLIC NOTICE
Public notice is given that at the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 25 July 2017, on Mayoral Minute MR17/006 Motion 17/233 Council resolved that:
1) The resolution made in the confidential sessions for this council term be included in the public minutes. 2) Names and addresses to be redacted from the resolutions prior to being made public.
Most readers would have no idea what this meant and certainly wouldn’t twig to going back to the minutes of the Council’s June 13th meeting to find that they had been ALTERED. The original minutes had only three elements however the NEW minutes had SIX and what interesting reading they made. For some reason or other the Councillors must have been advised that only three of the elements had to appear in the official minutes and the other bits could remain behind “closed doors”. Turns out that was the wrong advice again under the Act and the Council were very clearly instructed to “fix it”. The unfortunate thing on all of this is that even after being chastised by the Office of Local Government for getting bureaucratic processes wrong the Council continued to add to it all by not being open and honest that they had stuffed up. It appears to be the new norm however for Council to say nothing and admit nothing on anything and everything Next week The Beagle will begin having a very solid look at the Batemans Bay Bowling Club purchase and the comments in the Catalina Country Club presidents 2015/2016 report that said: From October last year there was a steady flow of interest in this sale with one company provided exclusive rights for 120 days to investigate whether the site was suited to their purpose. During these negotiations a riparian corridor was highlighted as a contract killer. This corridor restricts development within 40 metres of the high water line and resulted in a 30 percent reduction in available land. The deal fell through. There were other offers and each was carefully considered but in the end the board was very pleased the successful bidder was the Eurobodalla Shire Council and this strategically placed asset would remain within our community’s portfolio.
It appears the Council bought themselves a bigger problem that they are letting on. Until next week lei