The Beagle Editor,
In September 2016 the shires residents ratepayers and voters elected nine councillors as their elected council representatives. Those nine individuals receive payments to attend council meetings ranging in total amounts from around $30,000 to around $100,000 for the mayor to attend Council meetings on behalf of the shires residents and Voters. But all too often they don't show up and offer their 'apologies' as was the case yet again with the Mayor being absent from the Chair. This was made more disappointing by the fact that it was the last meeting of the year, that there were nine speakers in Public Forum and the public gallery was full. When Councillor Rob Pollock asked for apologies and Liz Innes was named there was no excuse given. Just adopt and move on. It happens all too often. What grates the most is that the Mayor, being noticeably absent from the Council meeting popped up in social media marketing Batemans Bay in a Facebook video shot on location over looking the Innes wharf. Pre-recorded? who knows. It is just a very bad look. More often we are seeing the deputy mayor, Rob Pollock, step up doing radio interviews, chairing meetings and being the face of Council. Likewise Lindsay Brown, Anthony Mayne and Pat McGinlay are bringing to the chamber issues of concern raised by Batemans Bay residents such as Albert Ryan Park, the sale of the Batemans Bay Community Centre and issues around the Batemans Bay foreshore. A few weeks ago the Mayor was in her office while speakers presented at Public Access just 20m from her doorway. Did she attend and Chair the Public Access. No. Were any apologies offered. No. For what ever unknown reason to the shires residents, some councillors do not attend meetings to represent the general shires community. The shires residents deserve to be informed when the elected councillors are absent from meetings, unable to perform the duties they were elected for, and why. They certainly were not elected to sit in restaurants drinking tea or coffee rubbing shoulders with others, electioneering for the 2020 Council Elections, at the expense of the shires ratepayers and absent from important council meetings.
Allan Brown Editors Note: Where a councillor is unable to attend one or more ordinary meetings of the council, the councillor should request that the council grant them a leave of absence from those meetings. A councillor’s civic office will become vacant if the councillor is absent from three (3) consecutive ordinary meetings of the council without prior leave of the council .