Missing Inaction

At the last Public Forum session there were four councillors missing. Lindsay Brown, Maureen Nathan, Jack Tait and the Mayor, Liz Innes. The Public Forum started at 9:30am just after the Councillor Briefings. All the councillors except the Mayor were at the briefing. Why didn't they attend the Public Forum and listen to the presentations by the community? The fortnight before was the same thing. Lindsay Brown, Jack Tait and Liz Innes were absent from the Pubic Forum session with seven speakers. But Liz Innes was in her office just ten metres away and Lindsay Brown and Jack Tait were in the lunch room fifteen metres away. Those in the public gallery voiced their disgust to discover that councillors we elected did not wish to attend these Public Forum and Public Access sessions. The rules say they don't have to. Morality and community Expectation says they do. We know that Liz Innes has lost interest in Council. She was all ready to wave goodbye last Tuesday which was meant to be the last day of this term of council for all of them. But Covid in Sydney means that she and her collogues have three more months to face an angry mob who are now rising, well informed, and calling them out for their inaction over the past five years and the fustercluck that is building around Dalmeny, Coila and Broulee. Their term in Council is not yet over. Three more months remain. The community has an expectation that councillors attend the non-mandatory Public presentation sessions and pay respect to the members of the community who bring issues before them. The community also has an expectation that the Mayor attends these sessions and also chairs Council meetings. If she can't do this then she should step down immediately, hand the keys to the Mayoral car back and not accept the Mayoral stipend she is currently being paid for the extra three months. It has been noted that there are no apologies given when a councillor doesn't attend a Public Access or Public Forum session. None is required but it would be nice to hear a genuine "Gosh, I couldn't make it, enjoyed reading your presentation and have passed on to Councillor X a few questions to ask on my behalf". The apology issue continues into Ordinary Meetings where absences are noted with "Apology" but the reason is not forth coming. Here are the rules: The tendering of an apology is an accepted convention by which those present at a meeting are notified that the Councillor tendering the apology will not be attending the meeting. It is a form of courtesy to those attending the meeting. Its purpose is also to aid the efficient conduct of meetings by informing the Chairperson as to who will not be attending. This avoids delaying the opening of a meeting pending the arrival of such persons. All Councillors must make reasonable efforts to attend meetings of the Council and of committees of the Council of which they are members. The Eurobodalla is suffering. We are still suffering from bushfires, from the economic loss of that time, and we continue to suffer economically, socially and mentally from the impacts of Covid that our local economy has been blighted with. What we need is leadership. If the Mayor can't be bothered to make reasonable efforts to attend Pubic Access, Public Forum and Council meetings any longer then let someone else step up. What we don't need is a Mayor missing in action, a local State member missing in action and a Prime Minister missing in action.

Above: The good folk at Gondwana Council seem to be having similar problems.

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