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Editorial June 19th 2020

Welcome to this week’s editorial, When you think it isn’t possible for the opinion polls on the Mayor and most of her Councillors to fall any lower.. they do.

This week has seen the revelation that Council staff have used ratepayer contact information stored on Council servers to intimidate and threaten for their own private purposes. So much so that a formal complaint was even lodged with the police. But will there be any action against the council staff member? … we will never know as it is deemed ‘confidential’. So confidential in fact that for over a year the General Manager and her staff have even failed to advise the councillors of this serious privacy breach. This week we also learn that Council elections have been officially deferred until September 2021 which means that our present councillors will remain on, unchallenged for another 15 months. With such long term employment it is small wonder that next week will see them considering if councillors should receive superannuation on top of their attendance fees. The Mayor also remains unchallenged as she is the ‘popularly’ elected mayor, and, unlike Bega Shire for example, remains mayor for the whole for year period of tenure. In Bega they do not have a popularly elected mayor requiring their councillors to re-elect a new mayor each year from their number. The fact that our Mayor is considered a ‘Popularly Elected Mayor’ is in conflict with the opinion polls that indicate that she has fallen from popularity across the shire as a consequence of the continued secrecy and subterfuge around most Council matters and the Mackay Park project that has taken on a distinct odour of stinking fish and pork as a result of the revelations of the NSW State Government Arts Rort that saw the proposed Arts centre announced as the recipient of an $8m Regional Cultural Fund grant before the Grant Round had even opened. Adding to the plummet in trust and reputation held by the community of Council will be the inevitable decision next week by Councillors to endorse the General Manager’s intent to raise rates by 2.6% The Council meeting, the first in a month and the second in 11 weeks, will be held via Zoom. Can Council slip any further into disrepute? All we need do is wait and see. Until next—Lei

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