ANOTHER extraordinary meeting.

Signe Westerberg HeadshotsFAV  (78 of 102)I’ve just spent a good deal of time reading the minutes of the upcoming council meeting on TUESDAY night, at this point I can see no written reason why this meeting has been brought forward, there seems no significant item of importance that would require the urgency. Obviously an issue of more importance has arisen for either the Mayor and/or the Liberal Councillors as it is unlikely that anything Labor Cllr  or Cllr Harle considered too important not to show up would result in an apology, certainly not a reschedule.

The one item I considered most interesting/amusing was the particular note that the mayors office expenditure for the past quarter was $46,000… not certainly the amount but the final line. (highlighted in red)

REPORT 

On the 30 October 2013, Council adopted an updated Payment REPORT 

On the 30 October 2013, Council adopted an updated Payment of Expenses and Provision of Facilities to the Mayor and Councillors Policy following review and public exhibition. The updated Policy included the following provisions: 

1. Support to the Mayor including a senior advisor, meals and refreshments in conjunction with Council-related business and a council credit card with a $5,000 limit and a requirement to produce receipts. 

2. Support to Councillors including extension of meals and refreshments for councillor briefing sessions, committee meeting and planning and training sessions.  

Upon adopting the updated Policy, Council resolved that all expenditure and reimbursements made to the Mayor are to be reported to Council quarterly. 

It is to be noted that to date, the Mayor has not taken up the option for a council issued credit card. (this doesn’t say he hasn’t spent additional funds only that he has chosen not to take up the credit card option, with the above wording he is well within the bounds of the new clause to spend and claim significantly as long as he provides receipts, not taking up the credit card is basically irrelevant. This also doesn’t break down the expenditure and could very easily have and taken up the excessive ‘stationary’ expense account for Councillors and we’d be none the wiser. I know they think we’re stupid but I really do  believe we are entitled to a better break down of expenses, something I’ve written in my budget submissions on several occasions… alas ignorance is not Bliss.

Other things that are happening:

  • On the agenda again is the foot path/landscaping issue I’ve written about previously, while I am sympathetic to the residents who would like to access their new properties, we have rules and legislation in place for a reason and from what I read the issue for these residents is not with council but with their developer/builder as they have not adhered to the conditions required and until such time an occupancy certificate should not be provided, even if Cllr Hadchiti thinks it should… On these matters of planning and development I feel we need to take the advice of our trained staff, it is their job to ensure Council and there fore we residents are protected legally and that all development in our city (the entire LGA) conforms with the appropriate planning laws, safety and access requirements which in the long term will be in the best interest of the residents themselves. On reading the recommendation it strikes me that the developer is falling well short of his commitment and the proposed bond of $50,000 is $450,000 short of what is fair and reasonable for the works that need undertaking.
  • If you are interested in the plans for the CBD, take a few minutes and read the economic development committee meeting notes in the addendum, I attend these as an observer and note the items below for your interest. Of particular concern to me is the night markets and the food trucks…if no professional organisation who runs night markets for a living is  prepared to run ours, are we at real risk of paying considerably out of council funds if they aren’t successful? and the other food trucks matter, we are considering only one truck, which in fairness isn’t what you’d call a big ticket draw-card, time will tell I guess…as long as they don’t end up being expensive self promotion events for our #powermadmayor  as I am often reminded by people in the community who see the blatant self promotion of this mayor as a step too far.

Night Markets
 Food Truck Trial
 Second Starry Sari Night
 Second ‘InvestLiverpool’ CEO forum
 Further “Welcome to Liverpool” – new business Mayoral receptions
 Doing Business with Local Government – Procurement workshop
 Committee for Sydney event
 Hotels Property report

  • Some time ago I wrote a out the proposed changes to the Code of Meeting practice, I wrote a submission that was summarily dismissed by the Liberal Majority as I’m sure did others… I am delighted to advise that with encouragement of the Division of Local government, Council has opted to return the important clauses into the code of meeting practice to ensure the #powermadmayor can no longer use Mayoral minutes to his own ends. The fact remains, the code was written with specific outcomes and expectations and our Mayor usurping appropriate process in this way  is offensive and objectionable. I am now asking you to take a few minutes and put pen to paper and support the re installation of the appropriate clauses:  http://www.liverpool.nsw.gov.au/council/public-exhibition :

From the LCC Website:  ‘Submissions will be received by Council up to 5pm Wednesday 19 March 2014 and must be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer quoting 2012/0124 and either posted to Reply Paid 66322,  Locked Bag 7064, Liverpool BC NSW 1871, or faxed to 9821 9233, or emailed to lcc@liverpool.nsw.gov.au.     ‘
A simple email saying you support the re inclusion of the clauses will suffice… you don’t have to write a long or detailed commentary, simply support the inclusion and prevent our mayor using the Mayoral minutes to achieve personal outcomes without due diligence, considered debate and public scrutiny.

Lastly, the Elected Leaders forum was held last Wednesday night in Bringelly, a good turn out, especially considering I’m often the only resident in the audience… 33-35 people came along, and the new format allowed questions to come from the residents, there was  only a little heckling and some strong opinion and I”m yet to receive an answer to my question, from Stuart Ayres and Craig Kelly about the deplorable attacks on TAFE and public schooling funds but there is good news  Craig Kelly MP assures, dare I say guarantees we a will all get a $35 reduction in waste fees and a $19 reduction in electricity bills when (if) the carbon price is removed… he didn’t clarify whether or not the waste fee was on tipping fees’ OR on local waste removal or that the $19 was monthly, quarterley or even annually but I will be amazed if this actually happens, then again, promises are cheap when you’re playing to an audience. As this was held in Bringelly it is a real shame that the two members who actually represent the electorate out there were unavailable, those being MP’s Russell Matheson and Tanya Davies. Also missing was Paul Lynch and Melanie Gibbons, that said the first three never show up, however I did think as they were in their own electorates that Matheson and Davies  might grace us with their presence. As always not all councillors attended, Ristevski, Mamone, Karnib and Waller were apologies and Balloot spent as much time outside as he did in, so basically his engagement was minimal. It will be interesting to see how the new electorate boundaries will pan out in time for the next state election, boundaries are changing and some of the presently elected will need the support of people they’ve never engaged with at all. In fairness and continuing a precedent attending were: MP’s Chris Hayes, Andrew McDonald, Craig Kelly, Stuart Ayres, Laurie Ferguson, Cllrs Stanley, Shelton, Harle, Hadchiti, Hadid,  Balloot (mostly lol) Mannoun, Acting CEO Julie Hately, numerous group managers, and several support staff. Well done to Alison and her team for setting up a light supper etc…. a nice inclusion that was appreciated by many who had come straight from work.

See you at the council meeting on Tuesday, not Wednesday… as always if you were at the Bringelly event, or would like to add your view – simply drop me an email or comment on line here. All views welcome.

Sign off

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