The following presentation was considered to be bought to the Public Access session at Eurobodalla Council's Ordinary meeting of Tuesday 22nd May but on second thoughts it was considered that it would achieve little, and do little, to wipe the smugness off Council's collective face that they have once again "got away with it". Anyway, here it is for the benefit of those Beagle readers interested in the recent class action Code of Conduct raised against the Mayor for her 15 page Mayoral Minute of 27 March 2018. . Madam Mayor and Councillors, As you are now aware the Office of Local Government has determined that, in relation to the class Code of Conduct raised against the Mayor for her Mayoral Minute According to the Office of Local Government more than 30 good solid citizens stupidly mistook the word SHOULD as being a mandatory word where it turns out to be non-mandatory word as advised in the letter below that has no consequence what so ever and is simply a "suggestion".
Above: Part 2.7.1 of OLG's 'Meetings Practice Note - August 2009'
Above: OLG letter advising that SHOULD is a non-mandatory word that has no consequence what so ever and is simply a "suggestion".
If we are to get down to the pedantics of language then:
The OLG can stand by their statement above under the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW 2015:
8.1 You must not conduct yourself in a manner that is likely to undermine confidence in the integrity of this code or its administration.
8.9 You must comply with a practice ruling made by the OLG. The problem we have here is, that the according to the OLG, the third paragraph of 2.7.1. Meetings Practice Note is that it is only a Practice Note by the Department of Local Government under the Division of Local Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet and not made by the Office of Local Government. So it appears that the Practice Note was made as a guide for councils, councillors and members of the public and the principles upon which the Model Code are based include integrity; leadership; selflessness; impartiality, accountability; openness; honesty and respect to ensure meetings are run fairly and the procedures used improve decision-making, and not personal or political advantage. Apparently in a guide when they say SHOULD it doesn't mean MUST and is therefore non-mandatory. Seems as if some in the OLG (or above) obviously know that the "loophole" of the word SHOULD will see the application of 2.7.1 abused, as many believe has in the case of the Mayoral Minute regarding the Mackay Park Project. Under the revised Draft MODEL CODE OF MEETING PRACTICE for Local Councils in NSW December 2017 it is suggested that the wording be changed to: Councils must adopt a code of meeting practice that incorporates the mandatory provisions of the Model Meeting Code. A council’s adopted code of meeting practice may also incorporate the non-mandatory provisions of the Model Meeting Code and other supplementary provisions. However, a code of meeting practice adopted by a council must not contain provisions that are inconsistent with the mandatory provisions of this Model Meeting Code.The provisions of the Model Meeting Code that are not mandatory are indicated in red font.
Above: NOTE that the word must is NOT RED and therefore is NOT MANDATORY in this Draft Irrespective of the recent ruling of the OLG that the Mayor was at liberty to put forward her Mayoral Minute the community is now very much aware that, had the Draft Code of Meeting practice been in place, then her Mayoral Minute would have been in breach. The Mayoral Minute 27 March 2018 has now been recognised by the community for what it was and that will now go into the history books documenting the actions of this Mayor during her time in office. While the OLG determination might allow the Mayoral Minute 27 March 2018 it is still widely considered by many in the community as a low point for the Mayor especially those in the community who continue to lobby for a 50m pool for the Mackay Park Aquatic Centre It is widely considered that the Mayoral Minute by Liz Innes 27 March 2018 is on a par with the underarm bowling incident of 1981 - legal yet reprehensible.