That sinking in feeling

Signe Westerberg Headshots (38 of 102)I usually wait until the impact of the council meeting has settled in, however Wednesday  nights information was in my opinion important enough to share immediately, a few other things have settled in since. Those of you who follow me on twitter will know I tweet through out the meeting, although I do not always include the yawning mayor or the out of ones depth comments when one particular Councillor is expected to read the work provided by others, I sometimes think to make that Councillor feel uncomfortable. I cringe sometimes when I see process go out the window, or an inappropriate matter pushed through without due diligence or discussion. I don’t always note when a Councillor pushes through a particular agenda and thumbs up the member of the gallery when he/she is successful or rushes up to them during the break . Wednesday night was no different, there were many individual issues that arose that while not necessarily appropriate were lost in the plethora of grandstanding, mocking or politicking. Even motions get a ‘political’ stamp so a particular Liberal member can get some attention above and beyond the others of opposing political persuasion. Is there a points system I don’t know about?  I watch Q and A and regularly comment that there must be a bonus for dropping a particular comment, or support for a particular person. It needs to be said that as elected members, regardless of which level of Govt, that once they walk in the door they are there to represent the people, fairly and decently. While I’m not naive and I understand the nuances of representing the party they represent, the people who vote, most especially at a local level, expect a decent level of service. One real bug bear for me on Wednesday was when Cllr Hadchiti was making adjustments to a motion and in the following motion repeated them, all pretty benign until he realised that point 6 had been left in the original motion and had been voted on.  On realising the point had not been removed he had it taken out, well doh! you just can’t change a motion that has been voted on and completed, was the #powermadmayor asleep? You just can’t adjust a finished motion, it had been voted on, it had been finalised, an error perhaps but  regardless the whole group had voted on the motion with the point in,  saying ‘undo’ doesn’t and isn’t appropriate in my opinion. But alas no one picked it up and this is the kind of process point I rail against, were the #powermadmayor and/or the staff simply weren’t paying attention? It appears to me they get to a point where getting things over seems more a priority than dotting the i’s and crossing the T’s. I get that it wasn’t life threatening but it was inappropriate and was, well,  pretty sloppy.

So let’s look back at the meeting that was.  When I arrived the mayor was in deep conversation with his adviser and another person in the cloak room. Who was being advised or instructed one will never know, what ever it was it must have been important as the meeting then started late.The  gentleman from Moorebank who wants approval for works in the flood zone spoke and  Liberal Councillors worked hard on this one again. Needless to say approving retrospective DA’s is not my favorite past-time but on this I am often alone. I do feel for the staff sometimes though, they put in a lot of work to reach a recommendation only to have it changed, sometimes quite legitimately others not so.  No wonder the Liberal State Govt is working so hard to set up tick box approvals, this will accommodate all those who find process a bit painful or inconvenient and DA’s troublesome. As I mentioned in the previous post Cllr Harle raising the use of the Iconic funds  definitely put Oasis Mark 2 back on the agenda.

Councillors did cover matters of all types, some using the benefit of hindsight attempting to make sure the mistakes of the past aren’t repeated, sadly this is not enough to stop the Liberal majority trying to  push them through anyway. One thing I am hearing much more than in the past is “is it illegal?’ Seems if it isn’t they’ll still push the envelope but only so far.  The agenda is on line so I won’t bore you with all the matters covered some just matters of necessity re budget changes and accountability.  The whole meeting must have been difficult for the staff, they of course would have known in advance what was going to happen, so much so one group manager was not in attendance, coincidence or  what? This particular group manager was siting on the other side of the game when this behaviour last infested our council, as I said this is a bit like history repeating itself just without the large payout. (I have since been advised the manager is on leave and likely not aware of the situation at the time).

On the GM’s removal, clearly some agreement had been reached, my understanding is that the last six months have had both the #powermadmayor and the CEO on opposite sides yet last night all was hunky dory. The mayoral minute used to make the ‘announcement’ was well scripted and full of hypocrisy oops I meant kind words. Councillors who had not so long ago wanted his job were now singing the praise of the man they up until the DLG or ? stepped in (remember the urgent letter at the beginning of a meeting that was touted to dismiss the CEO?) wanted gone at all costs. Well at all costs means exactly that, while he is for the next three months on leave and long service leave his termination/resignation doesn’t’ actually take place until July 1 at which time it is estimated that his payout, will be in excess of $240,000 which just happens to be the same amount he would have received if he’d been dismissed, only now there doesn’t have to be an account given to the community.  This seems to me that the #powermadmayor and his minions will agree to anything just to see him gone, regardless of the cost to we rate payers. it would ve nice if we were actually informed officially. We apparently have a ‘standin’ GM. I was taken a little by surprise to hear someone had been appointed when I heard  some Councillors said they only found out prior to the meeting. That reeks of  some Councillors being in the ‘inner  circle’  and others clearly on the outside. I hope the voters who thought they were getting fair representation twig to the fact that even in lowly council favorites and favoritism abounds. Wow I recall the resignation of Phil Tolhurst and the constant badgering and attacks on him, to my understanding his resignation was a ‘hand over your keys, get out the door and only take with you what is owed event. To my knowledge this poor man and his family were not afforded the generosity that the present one has. Sadly with Phils untimely death we will never know the details but there have been others who are no longer in council who have shared some pretty interesting tales of woe in regards to terminations, payouts and promises.

I hope if others feel I have mis-interpreted the events of Wednesday they decide to share their opinions, I know at least one Councillor who was genuinely unhappy with the outcome, others no doubt heading out for a celebratory ‘drink’.

For Now we have a temporary GM, Rob Noble who from a quick Google has had some stand in work in other councils  and a lengthy career. This leaves the majority to  sort out who they want in the position on a permanent basis. I will be watching closely, thanks to ‘Google and similar’ finding out about people, their past and political alliances isn’t as difficult as it once was, you may recall my searches regarding the past appointment of Mr Daniels and the numerous things that were on line about him. While I am sure there will be some who wish their info not so readily available, others will appreciate the fact that being honest and visible proves the access won’t hurt you.

As I mentioned your comments and opinions are welcome, I share mine based on what I see and hear, clearly others may see it differently and in the interest of open communication please let me know and I’ll post your opinions and views also. Information is powerful especially when shared and I prefer as much as possible to garner a fair and reasonable view. Just a reminder if you email me unless you indicate its OK to publish I won’t, but if you respond here I will consider you want the information shared.


More as always when I know more

Sign off





ps… I did advise some months ago that I had a major Outlook problem and lost a number of email addresses etc, so David if you read this please pop me an email…and if I’ve not been in touch with others, please do likewise, you really don’t realise how much detail you keep in your outlook account  😦


2 Responses to That sinking in feeling

  1. Peter Harle says:

    Signe, can you recall any Council Meeting this term that actually started on time?
    Punctuality does not rate very high on the Mayors list of priorities.

    I was just as surprised at the “temporary CEO” as you, means someone knew well in advance the outcome of the Mayoral Minute.

    Clr. Peter Harle

    • Signe says:

      I guess our surprise is the surprise Peter. Nothing this#powermadmayor and his cohorts should surprise us. Goes back to my comment that there is two classes of councillor.

      At least we know he reads a little as he did manage the acknowledgement at CPAC last night. Something is better than nothing but only just 😦

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