Editorial Feb 16th 2018

Welcome to this week’s editorial, There is a change in the air and it smells fresh and positive. Some call it People Power This week saw a community group bring together over 100 people to a public meeting in Batemans Bay to very clearly say NO to the local Eurobodalla Council and to voice their disapproval of how Council fails to communicate and include. They voiced their disapproval at the ineptitude of Council to engage with the community on a whole host of issues, but most importantly, on the issue of a whether the town should retain a 50m pool. The community are now becoming engaged. Actively engaged …. and throwing down challenges left, right and centre to the Mayor, Councillors and its administration that it is firmly ON NOTICE at at present are failing in expectations. What is now being openly exposed is the manipulation of figures, survey results and reports held by Council to determine the outcomes that Council has pre-determined; and when these are assembled into reports and given to the councillors they are simply assumed to be true and correct. What the councillors are beginning to realise is that they are being taken for a ride and being treated simply as rubber stamps to an agenda that only the Council administration seem privy to. In recent months the Council has been taken to task for its continued veil of secrecy that edges on downright deceit. In the most recent case Council were found to have secretly minuted the purchase of the Batemans Bay Bowling Club land in a one-liner on a lst page that made no reference to the purchase at all other than the description of “property matter”. The way that it was handled is unlawfall. That matter is now with the Office of Local Government to determine. They too are on Notice as to how they handle the issue as they have proven an imbalanced sympathy already to their council “cousins”. Unfortunately for this Council there is a new set of eyes watching their every move. Informed eyes aware of what is required and now, with a voice, able to expose Council when it fails to meet expectations or the letter of the law. For so many years this council has been hammering ratepayers with the “letter of the law”. Pedants that are more than happy to pick holes in the tiniest of issues and to be unmoving away from what they purport to be the “rules” inviting legal challenge in the first instance. Unfortunately for this Council they are now being bitten on the arse for making up their own rules. They have been unapologetically caught on several occasions. What has changed in the main is that the community has found its voice. They are now presenting at Council in Public Access and in Public Forum and they are telling it as it is. While this has been “water off a ducks back” for many years Council is now being reported to the OLG, to the Ombudsman, to ICAC and to the Ministers with very well crafted and evidential reports by very well informed members of the community who have no expectation of Council other than that they adhere to the rules and respect, regard, engage and include the community. Where there was once the expectation that councillors were the community watch dogs, voted in to “keep the bastards honest”, the community has lost faith and trust in them as they show their allegiances to the system. Last night’s community meeting was a signal to the Council that THEY are now on notice and will be called out every time and caught out for their lies, their deceit and their secrecy. It is the Year of The Dog and it might be a mongrel year if they don’t change their ways. Until next, lei

#LeiParker #Editorial #Opinion #Weekly

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