The Beagle Editor,
What happens when the webcast of a Council meeting is contrary to the minutes? Your readers might be interested in an email that I have sent to all of the Councillors in light of the fact that two of them will be raising their hands at next Tuesday's meeting to move and second the minutes of the previous meeting being December 12th, 2017. Who ever moves and seconds these minutes had best take advice from the Office of Local Government before doing so.
CAN COUNCILLORS CONFIRM?
I wish to share my recent correspondence with Eurobodalla councillors, sent Mon 5 Feb. I await a response.
Mayor and Councillors (and officers of the Office of Local Government if they are reading this),
I have some concerns regarding the last council meeting of 12 Dec, 2017, specifically the meeting procedure relating to the replacement of the Mackay Park Sunset Committee member.
I would greatly appreciate your responses to the following:
1. When was the staff recommendation, to replace the committee member with someone from the business community, formally put to councillors to consider?
2. When did councillors discuss and decide to reject this recommendation?
3. When did Councillor Brown formally suggest/put his amended/alternate motion, to NOT replace the committee member at this time, to councillors?
My concerns stem from the fact that none of the above occurred in view of the public during the council meeting of 12 Dec, 2017, as required by policy and legislation.
The minutes (extract below) state that Councillor Brown put the amended/alternate motion at the Dec 12 meeting.
This would be rather difficult as Councillor Brown did not utter a single word while this item of business was being addressed (evident in webcast).
Which leads to my final question:
4. Can you confirm the minutes of the Dec 12 meeting, as being a true and accurate record of what occurred at that meeting, when the webcast proves otherwise?
Councillors, I seek your personal response, not that of senior management.
Deua River Valley Background: The above agenda ‘recommendation’ appears to have been altered/amended, at the briefing prior to the public council meeting of 12th Dec. At this public meeting, the item was introduced by the Chair as:“I put agenda item PSR17/073 Mackay Park Precinct Redevelopment, Mackay Park Sunset Committee, moved by Councillor Brown with an amendment, seconded by Councillor Constable.” This amendment was introduced as a fait accompli, with no discussion or debate during the public meeting. The minutes of the Dec 12 meeting attest to this fact. One can only assume that this amendment occurred during the pre meeting briefing. In fact, the public had no idea what this ‘amendment’ was, until 10 minutes into discussions when Councillor Constable stated, “I don’t think the amendment has been read to the community.” He then read it out – “At this time not fill the vacancy on the Batemans Bay Mackay Park Precinct Sunset Committee.” This ‘amended’ recommendation/motion is totally different to that published in the agenda, and to which members of the public spoke to in their presentations: I believe that Council has failed to comply with its Code of Meeting Practice and breached the Model Code of Meeting Practice by failing to put the amendment forward and address it during the public council meeting. Council’s Code of Meeting Practice states: 4) Briefing papers contain information but no recommendations. 5) No recommendations are to be put to, and no agreement sought from, the councillors or other participants in the course of the briefing. General consensus on any options may be expressed by the participants. 6) No decision-making process can form part of any particular briefing. Briefings do not have any decision-making authority or powers and are merely a means to enable councillors to bring an informed mind to the appropriate decision-making forum. 7) Briefings should not be used for transaction of Council business or detailed or advanced discussions where agreement is reached and/or a (de-facto) decision is made. Any detailed discussion or exchange of views on an issue, and any policy decision from the options, must be left to the open forum of a formal Council meeting. In addition, Meetings Practice Note Aug 2009 states, “Any amendment to a motion must not alter the motion to the extent that it effectively reverses the motion.” As the intent of the original recommendation/motion was to fill the vacancy on the committee, the amended motion ‘effectively reverses the motion,’ as its intent is to not fill the vacancy. I believe the introductory phrase, “at this time,” was included in an effort to negate the reversal of the motion’s intent. However, the public is not to know the reasons, as discussions on the amendment and councillors ‘supposed’ resolution to accept it, occurred behind closed doors.