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Editorial April 13th 2018

Welcome to this week’s editorial, For those who may have missed the news earlier this week the Mayor took a bruising from the community at Council’s Tuesday meeting where one speaker after another, during Public Access, opened fire on her administration. It was revealed that there had been a class action Code of Conduct taken out on her Mayoral Minute of the week before that 33 signatories saw as an abuse of power and a bureaucratic way of closing down any further input from the community in regards to the prospect of including a 50m pool in the new aquatic centre for Batemans Bay. The council was also called out for doggedly rushing ahead having divisively obstructed the continued requests from the community for more information about design, costs and ongoing affordability. We learnt during the Public Access session that the community had sought documents from the grant bodies to be told they were readily available however a “third party” was blocking their release. It can only be assumed the Third Party is Eurobodalla Council. This denying of requests for documents is becoming a standard action for council who have still not made available two other documents in regards to the pool. There is a building distrust of the Council in regards to anything they say; from pools to sea level rise. Rather than being open Senior staff and councillors are hunkering down further. However the more they hunker down behind closed doors the more obvious it is becoming to the Office of Local Government and the Ombudsperson’s Office as they field more and more complaints. And those complaints are becoming well known at State Government level as they are beginning to stick. The letters/opinions page of The Beagle is running hot. It was considered from the outset, in the design of The Beagle, that an Opinions and Letters page had to be present as the community needed to have an independent area where they could have their own conversations about issues that mattered to them. Most of our Eurobodalla Councillors laughingly say that they do not read The Beagle — one councillor offers: “Some councillors admit to reading the comments on this media outlet. Some with a sense of disdain, state that they refuse to do so. That is a bit of a shame really as I think as councillors we are duty bound to access as much information and opinions as we can in making our decisions, whether we think the opinions are valid or not, and whether they be informed or ignorant; or logical or fantastical.” To which a response came: It's not a 'bit of a shame' that councillors do not read community opinions in The Beagle. It's a bloody big enormous shame, because on many issues, our opinions are not sought by Council at all. And it is bleeding obvious that most of 'our elected representatives' don't represent us at all. I reckon their denial is a 'porkie' anyway! So what we had last Tuesday was presentation after presentation to the Senior Council staff and councillors that clearly indicated that the community had had enough and were not going to go away. They also learnt that the community was armed, succinctly quoting Acts and Policies and advising councillors of what they should already know. It is embarrassing that the community actually knows more than the councillors do and that, in the opinion of many, the councillors are letting the community down. Sadly the Councillors and the Mayor and the Senior Management are also bringing down the good name of Eurobodalla Council and tainting the excellent reputations that their hardworking indoor and outdoor staff deserve. Until next, Lei

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