So you want to be able to speak at a Council meeting? - Maybe you want a councilor to present an issue on your behalf? - You might expect a bit more openness and clarity of what can and can’t be done at a Council meeting - And you might like to have a set of rules that Council MUST abide by Welcome to the revision of the Code of Meeting Practice, Council's Policy of what is allowed and expected. All NSW councils, including Eurobodalla, already have them but many have holes in them that enable smarties to duck and weave between words and hide behind paragraphs of double speak. From time to time they get caught out and the Office of Local Government slaps them on the wrist such as the recent slap Council's general manager received for not declaring two Confidential Matters as being about her own salary review and reappointment in an agenda and then continuing the "cover up" in the minutes. The Office of Local Government’s (OLG) has identified that the Codes of Meeting Practice right across NSW is need an overhaul and they have offered a new draft for the community (and councils) to consider and make submissions. Tomorrow, Tuesday 13th March, Eurobodalla Councillors will vote to support their own submission. Like the LEP the Draft Code is the template and a council can choose to add more. There are things in the draft that Council doesn’t like as well and they want those changed. The Model Meeting Code as developed by OLG has two elements: The first are the mandatory provisions (indicated in black font) that reflect the existing meetings provisions of the Act and adapt those currently contained in the Regulations. The next are the non-mandatory provisions (indicated in red font) that cover areas of meetings practice that are common to most councils but where there may be a need for some variation in practice between councils based on local circumstances. Below is a quick overview of Council's submission with their notes
In all the submission is not bad - Council has a good track record in general of how it stays within the boundaries of its Code Of Meeting Practice and how it has allowed the community to participate by Public Access and Public Forum with Live Streaming. There are a few wrinkles to still work out as the General Manager adopts to the NSW State Government requirements to work to the rules set down and not make things up as she goes along but with a Code of Meeting Practice and with webcast Live Streaming the General Manager, Staff, Councillors and general public are all put on notice with clear guidelines of what to do (an not do). It is hoped that the submission by Council does see modifications made to the Draft as some of the areas "challenged" by Council of the Draft would be a backward step if adopted.