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Editorial November 16th 2018

Welcome to this week’s editorial, It appears that things are becoming a little unravelled for the Council. During recent community forums in Batemans Bay it was revealed that there wasn’t any vision document for the Batemans Bay CBD, foreshore and the Mackay Park precinct with one staff member saying that “in a perfect world they might have one”. That doesn’t auger well for the Gateway to Batemans Bay with a building to be designed in isolation. This also leads to a very interesting conundrum for the newly appointed Batemans Bay Foreshore Committee charged with having some sort of vision for the Bay foreshore yet having no overview reference of the CBD itself. They have been told to put on blinkers, to only discuss what is put in front of them and to sign confidentiality agreements that prohibit them from saying anything to anyone, especially if it is to do with wharves, jetties, boatsheds and floating pontoons. The Mackay Park Sunset Committee was also sworn to secrecy and we can all see how that turned out. Merde. The other band of merry-fellows sworn to secrecy are our councillors who wander around quite poker faced and say very little indeed in case they might accidently let a cat out of the bag. The penalty for doing so is swift and brutal with a Code of Conduct issued by the Mayor or General Manager. On Codes of Conduct, they too are secret. Or at least they are meant to be. If a Councillor raises a Code against another Councillor, staff or the Mayor you will never hear of it. Nor will you ever hear if the Mayor or General Manager raise a Code of Conduct against a Councillor. That is all very hush hush and highly confidential as decreed by the Office of Local Government. However there is a current loop hole that if a member of the public raises a Code of Conduct against Council or Councillors then that can be (presently) made public because no-one in the public is required to sign a confidentiality cause before being able to officially make a complaint. But they want to change that because mongrels like the Beagle have been openly publishing the plethora of Codes of Conduct that have been raised by members of the public against the Eurobodalla Council and its Councillors as well as publishing the determinations, most of which come from the same Council appointed and paid investigator and most of which are in favour of Council with occasional castigations saying “D minus—could do better” The Beagle has been advised that once the new Code goes through there will be a penalty applied if they publish “behind closed door” stuff. The sad thing about all of this is that our Councillors, those we elected are watching it all from behind their cups of tea and free lunches without making a single comment, primarily because they have been well and truly gagged. The latest lid to blow off the secrecy fiasco is the revelation that a study commissioned by Council into the economic viability of a deep water pier for Batemans Bay suggested it was “economically unviable”. The difficulty in accepting that conclusion is that only a tiny handful of people have actually seen the report and those who have (outside of Council) considered it so “light on” that they could see little evidence that the report looked closely at detailed costings or identified cost benefits in its conclusions. But then that is all fine because the Councillors will say they have been briefed and told it was “economically unviable” and that they have no option but to trust the staff. In fact that is the very excuse they can give for any negative repercussion to “their” decisions that they vote for…. “we voted in good faith in what we were told”. The big question is Just How Much aren’t they told and why not? Until next Lei

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