Once again the community saw the absence of the Mayor to her public duties of chairing Council's Public Forum and Council meeting. In her place, once again, was the very capable Deputy Mayor Rob Pollock who, in his matter of fact style managed to move through what was looking to be a very long session without the assistance of the General Manager or the usual prompting of Lindsay Brown who enjoys offering Mayor Innes guidance when she stumbles on meeting protocols. The Public Forum session saw speakers present on several issues that were coming before Councillors during their later Ordinary meeting. Most speakers, given seven minutes, spoke well of their subjects with three speaking on the item of the Moruya Pound in regards to improving pound facilities. You can read the presentation of Peter Cormick HERE Donald MacDonald presented on supporting the new Eurobodalla Hospital and lobbying for the appointment of new incontinence nurse for the region while Alan Rees and Kathryn Maxwell addressed Council on Hazard Reduction burning. With the current bushfires fresh in everyone's mind the public gallery were both amused and disappointed in a speaker from Batemans Bay who chose Public Forum to declare there was no climate change and that Greens were responsible for the fires as they were the root cause behind the intensities of the fires that remain active. With a degree of theatre at the end of her presentation suggesting that she had presented her case the gallery launched into a round of boos that passed the Chair, as did the applause that that been given to other speakers out of respect of their presentations. The last two presentations were on Code Of Conducts from Lei Parker and Brett Stevenson presenting on Councils Risk exposure under the New Risk Management and Internal Audit Framework for Local Councils in NSW With a half hour break the Council meeting began at 11am with Deputy Mayor Pollock returning to the Chair. While an apology was offered for Mayor Innes' absence it has not gone unnoticed that this is becoming a trend with no explanation. (adding to the question of absence was the appearance of the Mayor on Eurobodalla Council's Facebook page later in the afternoon filmed in a cafe in Batemans Bay) The video of the meeting will be available on line later this week. In general though it was quick paced with some back and forth on the pedantics of wording of motions. There were several wins for the community by their presentations. The key one around the Moruya Pound review. Councilor Pat McGinlay responded today saying "A small gain for animals and those who care about them was achieved today. My original motion was, given the mood of the debate, and listening to other councillors’ concerns, amended by me to simply state: “That council receive a detailed briefing on the pound and potential works, including those recommended by the RSPCA, to improve its condition and operations”. "This achieved unanimous support by councillors and I acknowledge and appreciate their votes. It is but a small step forward, but hopefully one that leads to good outcomes in the future. Thanks are due to the several members of the community who emailed or communicated to councillors urging their support and also to those presenters, who braved the public forum opportunity to put forward, face to face, their heartfelt and well considered logical views. I am sure it had a positive impact." With the continued efforts of Jan Frikken making inroads into multicultural awareness in the Eurobodalla and her ongoing concerns of the lack of a Adult Migrant English Program in the Eurobodalla the councillors resolved today to write to the Department of Home Affairs requesting that the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) be reinstated in our local area so that new migrants can access the program within our shire rather than having to drive to Nowra for the classes. Council will now take a break and return in 2020 ready for the downhill run to the September 2020 Local Government elections. The meeting ended with Christmas wishes and the Chair coming down to the chamber floor to shake hands and offer seasons greetings. The General Manager did not turn out the lights this time and instead left the room as the gallery came down into the chamber floor for the last time in 2019.