The first meeting of the new Council was held on Tuesday 25 September at 5.30pm. The Web-cast is now available in the archive HERE. TRRA sent an email to the Councillors before the meeting HERE. Please read.
Council elected Sally Dover as Deputy Mayor for the next two years, unopposed.
The meeting was mainly dominated by procedural and administrative decisions on how often council would meet, and who would serve on the proliferation (about 80) of the Committees that service the LGA. I think it will be dawning on the new Councillors by now just what they have let themselves in for.
Of the matters that we raised in our letter, the one about the Council’s investment in Grange (Lehman Bros) CDO’s was raised by Councillor Nell. The General Manager stated that, in the investments that Wigacarribee Council had made through Grange, (that were the subject of the recent successful Class Action) they had Ceded full control of the investments back to Grange. He stated that PS Council had set theirs up differently and that they could not take part in the Class action for that reason. We will be checking the details of this, to see if it is correct.
On the other matter that TRRA raised about the Rescission Motion that sought to overturn the decision of the last Council, to reject a DA for a building in Fingal Bay, in accordance with the recommendation of Council Staff and in line with State Authorities, mainly because it did not meet the fire regulations or the State Building Codes, showed us just how the new Council will operate. Despite no notice of motion being on the table to indicate what they were going to do with the DA if they managed to rescinded the motion, the Mackenzie faction overturned it anyway.
Councillors Nell, Dingle and Kafer spoke passionately against the rescission, but Councillors Jordan, Tucker and the Mayor denigrated the State Authorities, and said that they did not know what they were talking about. The Mayor in particular was scathing in his attack, how he participates directly in the debate and still chairs the meeting is a sight to behold. When it was Councillor Dingle’s turn to speak he sat him down and told him he would tell him when to speak, then waded in himself!!
Councillor Kafer asked the Services Manager “what has changed in the advice to Council about liability from when this matter was dealt with originally and now?” The poor old Services Manager stood up and replied “Nothing”.
Councillors Nell, Kafer and Dingle voted against, Councillors Jordan, Tucker, Dover and the Mayor voted for and although they looked a little non plussed the two new Councillors present, Morello and Doohan (le Mottee is on holiday) supported the Mayor as well.
Obviously the Mayor wanted to test the power of the new ‘Team to Achieve,’ so if he was looking for something curly to try them out, this was it, first up. This matter is highly contentious and is exactly the sort of thing that the DLG Better Practice Review recommended Council should stop doing. Despite this being raised, they all passed the test with flying colours. Councillor Jordan then moved a motion to put the whole mess back on the Council Staff, to negotiate on the owners behalf to cut a deal with the State Authorities so that he would not be up for so much expense to comply. Good luck with that!
TRRA is extremely concerned that if this is to be the precedent for the way that this new Council is going to operate over the next four years, the legal bills and the liabilities will be a major feature of the Councils budget long after they have served their terms.