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Editorial October 16th 2020

Welcome to this week’s editorial, Have our Councillors fallen to such new lows as to have become little more than neutered cuckolds? For those who are not aware our councillors are presently under investigation to determine if one of them is a whistle-blower leaking confidential information to the media. The exercise, estimated to cost more than $10,000 was endorsed to by the councillors themselves in order to flush out a possible Judas in their ranks. It is understood that the councillors were required to hand over their laptops, ipads and phones to staff to allow investigators to trawl phone and email records looking for evidence. Each councillor was phoned and all interviews were recorded. It is a serious allegation and the consequences, if proven, are a Code of Conduct or even possible criminal actions. (PS—they are all innocent and the investigation is little more than a witch hunt with The Beagle advising the investigator of the facts—all Council had to do was phone and ask) With that hanging over their heads it is little wonder that the councillors haven’t responded to emails or phone calls this week asking for their response to the announcement by the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, of $3m from the Growing Local Economies fund will deliver Mogo Adventure Trail upgrades, including upgrading and marking existing tracks and trails and building crucial missing links. There is little doubt that funding for Mogo Adventure Trail will help in our economic recovery and hopefully, as announced, ”deliver an adventure trail network that will be both a significant tourism asset and encourage visitors to return to Mogo and the broader region, providing a much needed long term economic boost for the community.” The fly in the ointment however is due process. In this case due process has been replaced with a Captain’s Call with little evidence of any apparent respect of Local Government protocols. Presently the DRAFT Mogo Adventure Trail proposal is out for public comment (closes Oct 19th). The Councillors have been clear that they want to hear from the community and they encourage public submissions that will then accompany a report to be delivered back to council for them to vote on. That is due process. This week, even before submissions closed, Council announced “ Huge shoutout to Andrew Constance MP who yesterday announced $3 million in NSW Government funding to build mountain bike trails in the forests around Mogo. Thanks to Andrew and the NSW Government, we'll now see 125km of world-class trails built, and 30km of existing trails formalised in Mogo State Forest.”

Above: Council uses social media to announce Mogo as a done deal, bypassing public submissions, reports and councillors voting to endorse the project. And there you have it. Any submission made to the draft is redundant, any report called for by Councillors is needless, and their vote to endorse or reject the project is dispensable. And our councillors are all too scared to voice an opinion publicly for fear of being threatened with a Code of Conduct, or more. Until next—lei

What role, if any, do the councilors now have, having delegated all their responsibilities to staff and being under the dictate of whatever the State Government wishes of them?