Long word of the law

Melville Times - - Front Page - Bryce Luff

A POL­ICY up­date Melville chief ex­ec­u­tive Shayne Sil­cox says will cre­ate a safer work­ing en­vi­ron­ment has been backed by the coun­cil, de­spite a late push to have it rewrit­ten to sound less ag­gres­sive.

The up­dated le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion pol­icy – a guide to the level of sup­port of­fered to coun­cil­lors and City em­ploy­ees who be­come in­volved in le­gal pro­ceed­ing in the course of their jobs – was sup­ported 63 af­ter about 50 min­utes of de­bate on April 17.

Dr Sil­cox said staff had been as­saulted and threat­ened by mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and re­vi­sions were needed to sup­port em­ploy­ees.

“The sit­u­a­tions I’ve given you and one I can’t even de­scribe – it’s hor­rific – are hap­pen­ing,” he told coun­cil.

“It’s not about tar­get­ing cer­tain groups as (some coun­cil­lors) might think; I want to pro­vide a safe work­place.”

A talk­ing point on the night, as it was dur­ing a brief­ing ear­lier this month, was point 1C of the pol­icy.

Some coun­cil­lors be­lieved one line would po­ten­tially see mem­bers of the com­mu­nity

sued for sim­ply speak­ing out against the lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

Coun­cil­lor Katy Mair asked for a de­fer­ral so the pol­icy could be rewrit­ten.

She said that was “not be­cause I’m against the in­tent of what (the pol­icy is) try­ing to do but I am con­cerned about how it’s writ­ten”.

“I do find it an ag­gres­sive pol­icy,” she said.

Also speak­ing against it, Cr Nick Pa­zolli said there was a wide range of le­gal, po­lice or com­plaints pro­cesses in place that coun­cil or the in­di­vid­u­als could call on.

He said changes could con­vert a de­fen­sive pol­icy that pro­tected City coun­cil­lors and staff into an at­tack­ing one.

Melville Coun­cil wants to cre­ate a safer work­place.

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