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Joan Armstrong - 10 April 2018

Joan Armstrong made the below comments at the Ordinary Council Meeting 10 April 2018.

I am addressing the introduction of the Mayoral Minute at the Ordinary Meeting of Eurobodalla Shire Council held on Tuesday 27 March 2018. This item was not on the agenda.

I believe that Councillors were briefly advised before the morning session that there was an as yet Mayoral Minute to be delivered during this session, but they would not be privy to it, as it was still being prepared whilst council was in session.

I would like to think that Councillors would have understood that as a Mayoral Minute it would not introduce, without notice, matters that are routine, not urgent or NEED RESEARCH OR A LOT IF CONSIDERATION BY THE COUNCILLORS BEFORE COMING TO A DECISION.

I understand that this Mayoral Minute was delivered to Councillors during a 15 minute break, with Councillors returning to chambers shortly after.

This Mayoral Minute was a 15 page 6412 word document that Councillors were expected to read and imbibe in a the short 15 minutes before returning to chambers.

This procedure flys in the face of the OLG code of conduct Model Code based on integrity,  leadership ,selflessness, impartiality, accountability, openness,  honesty and respect (Section 4. Model Code).

It also goes against the Office of Local Government Practice Notes.
I refer to the Office of Local Government Practice Notes: 2.7 Mayoral Minutes

2.7.1   What is a mayoral Minute?

Paragraph three (3)

‘Mayoral minutes should not be used to introduce without notice, matters that are routine, not urgent, OR NEED RESEARCH OR A LOT OF CONSIDERATION BY THE COUNCILLORS BEFORE COMING TO A DECISION. These types of matters would be better placed on the agenda with the usual period of notice being given to the Councillors'.

I have read the Mayoral Minutes of 27 March 2018 and no where in the fifteen pages can I see there any sense of urgency in regards to the exclusion of a 50 metre pool or any 'use by date' for the $26m grant for the construction of the Mackay Park regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre.

Welcoming The Premier the 'Hon' Gladys Berejiklian MP and the Member for Bega the 'Hon 'Andrew Constance for coming to the Bay the day prior to this meeting hardly constitutes any form of urgency.

(Perhaps at this informal meeting some guidance came in the form of how to shut down community consultation on the inclusion of a 50m pool in the Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre hence the arrival of these Mayoral Minutes the very next day?)

Any of you with an ounce of integrity would have to admit that you did not imbibe all the information produced in the Mayoral Minutes in the 15 minutes that you had to read it.

You have shown little regard in relation to community consultations about the exclusion of the 50 metre pool in the proposed Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre at Mackay Park and have used this instrument to shut down public consultation.

Given the short time you all had to peruse the Mayoral Minutes I can only conclude that the majority of you had made your decision prior the introduction of the Mayoral Minutes.

I would like to ask you all - what part of the Mayoral Minutes presented on Tuesday 27 March 2018 did you all consider to be such a matter of urgency that could not simply be put up as an agenda item at an ordinary council meeting?

Joan Armstrong