Eurobodalla Councillors, returning to their duties today via ZOOM, held the first Public Access session of 2021 before they moved to review their first agenda for the year to be delivered next Tuesday Feb 9th. One speaker after another put their bite into the councillors delivering one blow after another. The councillors were reminded that they were only in place due to Covid having called a postponement to the 2020 Local Government elections. They were reminded that had the election have gone ahead most of them would likely not be in office. The message to them was that care-taker mode would have begun in August 2020 and as such they should respect that and not put into place anything that will burden and commit the next councillors to a decision they may not have voted for. The next speaker reminded them of their Oath of Affirmation that they would represent the community and chided the councillors, as if they were preschoolers, who had failed, time and time again, to engage and communicate with residents and ratepayers. With the Public Access session being conducted on ZOOM, with only registered attendees and not recorded for the community to view, there was no opportunity for viewers to see the smug faces of some of the councillors as one presentation after another was delivered. Laughingly one of the councillors was embarrassingly corrected when he revealed that his "knowledge" was in conflict with the minutes of the last meeting over Council's intention to maintain a vision to remove the Clyde River boat ramp. Adding further to the already embarrassing antics of the councillor he decided he would break protocol and begin a back and forth argument with one speaker. The councillors were delivered a well articulated brief of what the community expect of them, as a reminder of why they stood and what their role is in representing the community rather than simply acting as disempowered rubber-stamp puppets as per the examples that were presented one example after another. The Councillors were castigated for their continued failures around the Mackay Park project, specifically in regards to the funding and the ongoing funding of the project. And all the time the councillors sat in their ZOOM windows like members of The Brady Bunch. Some looking this way, others that, and most often forgetting they were on camera that saw most of them fidget, preen, nose pick and even snort. It was refreshing to see most of them looking mildly irritated by the barbs that were being delivered. Possibly now that we are in an election year the prospect of not being re-elected based on four and a half years of questionable performance is sinking in. To the casual onlooker who may have registered to witness the ZOOM session they would have seen first hand the very reason why Councillors voted in the majority to not record and broadcast the Public Access and Public Forum sessions that reveal the disdain most of the councillors have towards members of the public who might dare address them, let alone tear them to pieces. Of interest is the silence of the councillors when it comes to question time. Council dictates that all submissions are to be provided by 12 noon the previous day so that councillors can read them and prepare intelligent, engaging questions of the presenters. Today saw only a few valid questions asked by one councillor with the viewers noting that the two normally wordy, and often discursive opinionists were mute, possibly knowing the speakers would shred them if they had offered their typical pithy comments. It's election time folks - so lock up your babies and take any election promises and deeds of accomplishment offered from most with a grain of salt. Next week's agenda should be out tomorrow.
One after another the barbs sunk deep trying to penetrate the teflon coating.