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Councillors: Get your hand off it

Dear Beagle Editor

On Tuesday 25th September 2018, I attended Eurobodalla Shire Council meeting @ 9.30am to view the Public Access session where members of the public have the opportunity to address councillors on issues relating to council business. I stayed on to also observe the Public Forum session where members of the public have the opportunity to address councillors on matters placed on the agenda for that particular meeting.

I sat in a position that afforded me a view of newly appointed Deputy Mayor, Clr Rob Pollock’s iPad and with Clr Lindsay Brown sitting directly opposite Clr Pollock, he was also in my line of sight. Throughout both the Public Access and Public Forum sessions, Clr Rob Pollock was observed to be ‘surfing’ the internet and Clr Lindsay Brown was observed to be on his mobile phone appearing to be either texting or also ‘surfing’ the internet.

To their credit, the other councillors appeared engaged with the community members who had taken the time to do their own research and then had the courage to appear in public to read out their presentations and plead their cases. Some of these members of the community were first time presenters oblivious to whether or not councillors were actually paying attention.

You can imagine my surprise then, when it came time to vote on the matter of Deputy Mayor, that Clr Rob Pollock was elected by a vote of seven for – Mayor Innes, Clr Lindsay Brown, Clr James Thomson, Clr Maureen Nathan, Clr Jack Tait, Clr Phil Constable and, of course, Clr Pollock himself. Outgoing Deputy Mayor Anthony Mayne received two votes, himself and Clr Pat McGinlay.

Then came the biggest shock of all – Clr Pat McGinlay, whose credentials and experience as an auditor speak for themselves, was overlooked for the position of the Audit Committee member in favour of Clr Lindsay Brown. Had the rest of the gallery been present to witness this part of the meeting, I’m sure they would have felt as I did. Can’t really find an appropriate description that the editor would publish.

So there you have it, two important positions were handed to two councillors who, by their actions in chambers, time after time, have shown little to no regard for the community who elected them to office. Perhaps all councillors should repeat their Oath of Office at the commencement of each and every council meeting.

I call upon Mayor Innes to instruct Clrs Pollock and Brown to publicly apologise for their behaviour during public presentations and to further insist that they not indulge in personal business during council meetings.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Councillors is a two way street. Coral Anderson

#Opinion #Council

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