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Procedure! Baa humbug


Attendees, public forum speakers and webcast watchers of the last council meeting, were witness to yet another example of our Council making decisions behind closed doors.

This decision related to the replacement of David Maclachlan on the Mackay Park Precinct Sunset Committee. David resigned due to disillusionment with council’s ‘orchestrated’ committee meetings that ‘marginalised expertise, stakeholders and community’ and did not allow for ‘informed discussions’.

At the Dec 12 council meeting, the item relating to his replacement was introduced by the Chair as:

“I put agenda item PSR17/073 .........., Mackay Park Sunset Committee, moved by Councillor Brown with an amendment, seconded by Councillor Constable.” One might wonder as to what this amendment was, as did all who were watching!

After all, amendments to motions are supposed to occur in open meetings of council, to allow the public to witness deliberations and decisions made by their representatives.

However, this did not occur. In fact, the amended motion was not revealed until Councillor Constable read it out, 10 minutes later.

The original agenda recommendation was: “Seek expressions of interest within the business community to fill the vacancy on the Batemans Bay Mackay Park Precinct Sunset Committee.”

The amended motion was: “At this time not fill the vacancy on the Batemans Bay Mackay Park Precinct Sunset Committee.”

The agenda ‘recommendation’ appears to have been amended, at the briefing prior to the public council meeting.

This is not permitted under council’s Code of Meeting Practice or Legislation.

In regard to briefings, Council’s Code states:

5) No recommendations are to be put to, and no agreement sought from councillors

6) No decision-making process can form part of any particular briefing. Briefings do not have any decision-making authority or powers

7) Briefings should not be used for ....... discussions where agreement is reached and/or a (de-facto) decision is made.

Failing to comply with meeting procedure is but yet another example of Council concealing the decision making process around this development, with the community being denied any input.

The Mayor and some Councillors keep reiterating that ratepayers will be allowed input if/when funding is granted. Trouble is, only minor alterations to the concept plan will be permitted by the NSW Sports and Infrastructure Fund.

So basically, we will be stuck with what council staff have decided behind closed doors.

Yours Sincerely

Patricia Gardiner

Deua River Valley

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