Last council meeting for 2013…hoorahhhh

Signe Westerberg HeadshotsFAV  (78 of 102)What can I say, I applied to speak with council on Friday and was approved, only to find tonight when I arrived that I would most likely not be afforded the opportunity. Why? well it seems we have different interpretations of how the Wednesday meeting was closed, my recollection was that the Mayor announced that there was no quorum and closed the meeting, saying that another would be rescheduled for Monday at 4 pm. According to council sources the meeting was adjourned, therefore not opening the gate for people to register to speak…well I guess on that we will just have to disagree and if that’s the case why was I approved on Friday?  I will attach for your information the draft of what I had planned to say,here although the conversation regarding the C E O was not broached… my guess!  probably had something to do with the sealed letter handed to every councillor in the early stages of the meeting. As always it would be nice to know exactly what and why some things happen but when secrecy is paramount in our council that is unlikely.  That said when we have people supposedly representing us that have ‘power’ as the goal secrecy works in their favour. It would have been interesting considering my past attempts at speaking to council, if Cllr Hadchiti would have afforded me  uninterrupted opportunity to say what I had hoped to say, but I guess I’ll never know. I’m sure there were some in the gallery (one in particular we’ve not seen for a while) who came out especially to see the proposed fireworks and left early, no doubt disappointed.

At least 4 topics were held over for confidential and in confidence reasons, so while we (the ratepayers) were excluded, the meeting did go on for some time and from what I guess the whole matter of the CEO was not addressed at all. He did  however show up tonight, and there was a semblance of normality, something good about that I  guess and with the Liberal party having dissent in their ranks who knows what will happen.

I spent a fair bit of time on the weekend reading paperwork and documents  from the Division of Local Government (DLG) including the contracts councils must use when employing general managers, and feel now a detailed submission to them regarding the behaviour and circumstances I had wished to address with the councillors directly is required. As that option was not afforded me and I believe some bias was used against me I think that my only redress.

Just a couple of things I was able to find out from my reading of the DLG papers and contract documents:

1 if councillors sack the CEO/GM we (ratepayers) are up for 38 weeks pay. (Scary when you know what that pay packet for our CEO is amongst the highest paid in NSW or so I’ve been told.Termination payments 11.3

2 If the mayor/deputy etc  is involved in the dispute with the CEO/GM contact should be made with the DLG for an independent mediator… section 3 dispute resolution

3 my fav: in case they are considering re-hiring a Liberal colleague: Appropriate background checks must be undertaken, for example bankruptcy checks. For more guidance on better practice recruitment background checks, councils are referred to the Australian Standard AS 4811-2006 Employment Screening and ICAC publications, which can be found on the ICAC website at http://www.icac.nsw.gov.au.

What ever was in the letter coincidently or not silenced the #powermadmayor and his cohorts, I wonder if we’ll ever know?

Onto issues actually covered by the meeting, seems many of you support the Badgery’s Creek airport proposal, that the questionnaire wasn’t skewed in any particular direction and despite the information being pre- empted by early findings, we’re all for it. Blacktown voted against it, but Cllr Hadchiti’s ministerial meeting would guarantee the jobs would go to Western Sydney. Opening the door for numerous discrimination cases if that is actually enacted 🙂 imo. Discrimination based on residential location could be a problem I think…but hey I’m not the Liberal Minister with whom he spoke as the president  of WESROC.

Another thing that I find disturbing, besides the number of ‘in confidence’ issues is the number of DA’s approved in retrospect, from what I heard tonight, getting a DA approved is ‘easier’ after you’ve gone ahead and done the work and you get to keep working through until approval is eventually given but then I am naive enough to think it should be approved before it is undertaken. Silly me. Try getting away with that as a resident?????

THE DFO got approval, so we can expect to see the Orange Grove Road DFO open for business in the very near future.

The Surf Lifesaving health initiative got the $16,000 donation from Liverpool council tonight too, ready to start in February – clearly an urgency item for the #powermadmayor as it was a Mayoral Minute. I listened to the presentation given to council two meetings back by Jane Fleming and it all sounded pretty schmick until she advised that all participants information would be provided to council, you know,  who it was, their health status, measurements, even where they lived etc… it’s about then the idea lost me. While I am all for using all the fabulous equipment we’ve installed in some of our parks etc and the idea of a group trainer appealing, allowing council my personal details was a step to far even if provided for detailed statistical data purposes.

I do hope others do consider it worthwhile though or we’ve just thrown away $16,000 and with council in desperate need of additional funds through a rate increase that would be a shame.

The Price Waterhouse Coopers fellow discussed councils finances, which as I mentioned last week is pretty healthy, he suggests if we can afford it we should embrace any interest free loans or cheap loans to work on our infrastructure backlog but only if we can afford it. If we are struggling now and needing a rate increase, will that money be used to pay back debt? If we are financially sound, why are we asking for the 9%(SRV) + 2.5%(Extra SRV)  + 3(pegged)% increase anyway? Then an interesting point he made was that while we are under the bench mark of around 6% our bad debts (rates unpaid) was actually an income earner because we charge 9% interest on those bad debts. The CEO did point out there would still be disadvantage provision. Hmmm interesting I’ll need to look at that a little closer and I’m getting really good at research LOL.

Well that briefly touches on some of the topics discussed tonight, give it a day or so and you’ll be able to read the findings yourself on line on the council website when the minutes are published.

Well that is my take on tonight’s meeting, you can decide for yourself, share your opinion, feel free to disagree, offer a different opinion or ignore completely after all this is how I saw it .

One thing I forgot to mention a meeting or so ago, is council voted to hold the night markets in the main street of Liverpool in the New Year, sadly no commercial entity (specialists in the field) thought it worthy enough to  run them,  so LCC are going it alone. The fact that no professional company considered them enough to want to run them is a concern, but only time will tell, my hope is they don’t cost us too much, especially since we are in desperate need for more money in the coffers.

However it’s Christmas tomorrow (its now well after midnight)  and I would like to take a moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2014. I have my new year wish list ready and as you can guess a more functional and respectful council is high on it.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season, stay safe, share lots of joy and good wishes as we head into another year. I will be checking in from time to time but plan a few days off and away from council matters.

ReminderDon’t forget to have your say about the proposed rates increases here:  http://www.liverpool.nsw.gov.au/growing-liverpool-2023-special-rate-variation-srv or write a submission…you still have time.

FYI your hard earned rates are on show on New Years Eve at the Chipping Norton lakes for the end of year celebrations 6-9 pm on New Years eve, go and  have a great time, if you see me, come up and say hi  and if we’re lucky the Mayor may refrain from his self promotion speeches throughout the event, not something he’s known for presently.

Christmas treeFrom my family to yours, Merry Christmas and I’ll see you in 2014 (or out and about around Livo.)

Sign offImage0209

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4 Responses to Last council meeting for 2013…hoorahhhh

  1. uwall says:

    Welcome back! I hope you and your new computer are feeling better. 😊

    • Signe says:

      tks Ursula, the unwell was simply doing too much and the heat I think, the PC well as you know no matter how well you try you lose stuff and sadly while I have all my files, I think, it’s amazing what you keep in your outlook folders and that hasn’t surfaced again :-(. The new laptop is lovely but windows 8 and 8.1 is an advertising program, in so many ways they manage to flash advertising across your work, I’m sure there will be a way to remove it but for now just annoying LOL. Enjoy the mountains !!!

  2. Peter Harle says:

    Hi Signe,
    Janice and I attended the NYE celebs from around 6:00pm to 8:30pm, it had a much bigger attendance than last year and the star attraction, Timomatic (singer) was well received, that is if the screaming from the younger audience was anything to judge him by. Overall I believe it was better than last year, based on comments from those that attended both. Fireworks were to be launched from a barge on the lake, although I did not stay to see them, we left at 8:30 for another function, many more visitors were arriving to watch the fireworks.
    Cheers
    Peter Harle

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