Editorial Sept 21st 2018
Welcome to this week’s editorial, Next week should be an interesting one for our council with the annual election of Deputy Mayor and the motion being put forward to Live Stream the open agenda Public Access session form 9:30am to 10am which precede Ordinary Council meetings. Many years ago the only way you could learn of what transpired in the hallowed chambers of council was via the deft pen and recollections of then editor of the Southern Star, Eric Wiseman. Back then Council had a door open approach to how it worked and Eric was invited to all of the workshops and briefings to hear, interpret and better understand the machinations of Council and how they come to their final determinations. Now the briefings and workshops are strictly closed and it is often suggested that, though contrary to the Act, determinations are already made prior to Councillors coming to the chamber to adopt council staff recommendations. The process of Council often “invites” the community to make submissions. These are written and provided and, as a courtesy, Council then also invites members of the public to come and present on the issue when it is raised as an agenda item. In the formal Public Forum session speakers have five minutes to present. They are restricted to only being able to present on an agenda item. They have five minutes, with the offer of a three minute extension at the discretion of the Councillors who vote on such extension, with questions from the councillors to follow. At best a daunting exercise for most. The Public Forum presentation is Live Streamed and also archived. It is only now that the Department of Local Government has moved to see Live Streaming set in place across all of NSW. Up to now Eurobodalla Council was one of the few Councils that had it. And all credit must go to Peter Cormick, a long time resident and council “watcher” who tenaciously pushed through that Live Streaming be adopted in Eurobodalla. Now there is a new push to Live Screen the preceding less formal Public Access session that allows speakers to present on non-agenda items. As yet it is not live streamed and the only way you might hear about issues raised is via the media who are there to report. Ideally, according to Councillor McGinlay and a wide and ever growing number of the community, the Live Streaming of this session should also be allowed. So Tuesday’s meeting to determine if it will be allowed should be interesting as it will force those who disagree to say why. In terms of effort/cost there is none. Just turn it on, press record and then press stop when the session is over. Then, at some point add the recording to the archive (estimated time 3 minutes) and there you have it. Open, inclusive, transparent and accessible Local Government for all. The second interesting point to watch next Tuesday will be the voting for the Deputy Mayor. While Council says it stands shoulder to shoulder the reality is that most of the time the shouldering is that intended to shove someone out of the way. Deputy Mayor Mayne is lined up to be shouldered and it will be interesting to see if it is race favourite Clr James Thomson who will be backed by the Gang of Seven or will Clr Phil Constable throw his hat in as well. There is no doubt that Clr Lindsay Brown would love the position so if he was to see his fellow, and more favoured Narooma Councillor stepping forward Lindsay will have no option but to also through his hat in the ring. What looked like a given two horse race might well be a four horse race and if so there will be considerable shouldering at the starting gates.
If you haven’t already watched Council Live Streaming then you should .. This coming Tuesday. Live at 10am on Channel ESC it offers hilarity, insincerity, pathos, subterfuge, innuendo, rhetoric, cynicism and grandstanding that are guaranteed to amuse. Until next …. Lei