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SAFE: Council backs down

The Beagle Editor, Beagle readers may be interested to know that the Eurobodalla Shire Council has backed down and agreed to change its proposed handling of a complaint by Stop Arms Fairs in Eurobodalla (SAFE).

SAFE’s 65 page complaint, detailing breaches of legal requirements and guidelines over a period of years by the Council, was initially forwarded by the Council to an external reviewer who was herself the subject of part of the complaint. SAFE had to point out to the Council the inappropriateness of this action, and was supported in this opinion by the reviewer herself. The Council then sent the complaint to another reviewer.

Part of SAFE’s complaint relates to the Council’s continued use of a single external reviewer, rather than the recommended panel of reviewers.

The Council’s apparent disregard for due process, in proposing that the subject of a complaint should also be the reviewer of that complaint, underlines what SAFE is concerned about in relation to this Council’s conduct: there is far too much lack of transparency and failure to ensure proper process in making important decisions. Shire residents deserve better.

I note that yet another Code of Conduct complaint has been made following the Council meeting of 28 August. I would suggest that the Council use this opportunity to adopt the “panel of reviewers” approach to dealing with such matters, as set out in the Office of Local Government’s “Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils”.

Heather Irwin

SAFE Inc President

#Opinion #Council #LocalStateFederal

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