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DODGY MINUTES or what ?


Dear Beagle Editor, DODGY MINUTES?!

ESC has once again ALTERED the CONFIRMED minutes of its June 13 ordinary council meeting.

Both alterations involve disclosure of information withheld/concealed from the public, in relation to the General Manager’s contract renewal, conducted in Closed Session.

Alteration 1: addition of resolutions withheld/concealed in original minutes

Alteration 2: addition of a ‘division’ called for by Clr McGinlay, but omitted in original minutes

NB:

* “resolutions and recommendations of the [closed part of a] meeting are OPEN ACCESS information.”(Guidelines on Closure of Council Meetings)

* “The GM must ensure that the following matters are recorded in the minutes .............. the names of councillors who voted for and against a Motion of Division.” (Meetings Practice Note Aug 2009)

*It is the GM’s responsibility (or her delegate) to inspect the minutes to ensure accuracy and “that no unauthorised person is allowed to interfere with them.”(Code of Meeting Practice 16.4)

The Gipa Act 2009 Section 120 states:

A person who destroys, CONCEALS or ALTERS any RECORD of GOVERNMENT INFORMATION for the purpose of preventing the disclosure of the information as authorised or required by or under this Act is guilty of an offence." So:

*Why were the June 13 minutes not a full and accurate record of the closed meeting’s proceedings as required by LGA s375?

*Were instructions given to falsify the record of the minutes, and if so, by whom? *Who authorised, or was responsible for, the subsequent alteration of the original minutes?

Once the minutes are confirmed(as the 13 June minutes were) they become an OFFICIAL LEGAL RECORD that must not be altered.

Code of Meeting Practice

16.5(2) The minutes can be amended in terms of accuracy by council resolution at the meeting PRIOR to their CONFIRMATION.

So:

*Why did councillors confirm the June 13 minutes at the meeting of 27 June, when they were well aware that the minutes were not “full and accurate”?

*Were councillors advised to confirm inaccurate minutes, and if so by whom?

I believe Council can resolve, at another meeting, to release 'concealed' and ‘omitted’ information to the public, which can then be recorded in that meeting’s minutes, but the original minutes should not be altered.

In this way, the council’s ‘stuff up’ of the minutes, and its correction of it, is recorded for legal and historical purposes. After all, as Council minutes are an OFFICIAL RECORD of GOVERNMENT INFORMATION and procedures, these records should show that information was concealed and later alterations were made. This is of major importance as these RECORDS may be used as LEGAL DOCUMENTS in court proceedings.

Section 375 of LGA requires “full and accurate minutes” to be kept as a record for:

*public inspection purposes

*for use in any court proceedings

*as a historical record

(Meetings Practice Note Aug 2009, 11.1.1)

Because ESC has now ALTERED the ORIGINAL OFFICIAL MINUTES of the June 13 council meeting, they have effectively obliterated any EVIDENCE of CONCEALMENT, ALTERATION or COMPLIANCE FAILURE (apart from anyone who has a copy of the original minutes and subsequent alterations).

The Meetings Practice Note Aug 2009 has a list of “safeguards considered necessary” for use by councils, “to ensure that the minutes cannot be substituted or otherwise tampered with.” ESC used half of one idea by “............. having a page number and identifying the meeting date.”

However, when they altered the minutes by adding concealed information, they forgot to add an extra page – hence, on the final page:

“This is Page No 30 of 29 of Ordinary Meeting ........ 13 June 2017”

I wonder if this will now be altered????

Is it Corrupt Conduct to alter a Record of Government Information?

Patricia Gardiner

Deua River Valley


Above: A favoured album of The Beagle shown here for no reason at all

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