Up­date con­cerns coun­cil­lor


Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Thomas Moir

Lo­cal coun­cil meet­ings may be­come more spec­ta­tor friendly with a re­cent up­date to process, but one Shep­par­ton coun­cil­lor ar­gues one clause has the po­ten­tial to ‘‘stif le de­bate’’.

Greater Shep­par­ton City Coun­cil’s lo­cal law sketch­ing out pro­cesses for coun­cil meet­ings has been up­dated.

But for­mer deputy mayor Fern Sum­mer ar­gued against the changes.

At a re­cent meet­ing where the coun­cil adopted lo­cal law re­lat­ing to pro­ce­dures for coun­cil meet­ings, Cr Sum­mer spoke at length against the up­dated doc­u­ment, point­ing out a num­ber of con­cerns she had with the up­date.

Cr Sum­mer ques­tioned the process for coun­cil­lors to sub­mit a no­tice of mo­tion as well as the process via which they could be re­jected from be­ing in­cluded in the coun­cil meet­ing agenda on the ba­sis of vague­ness.

‘‘I just find that it’s too sub­jec­tive . . . If you have a less than gen­er­ous in­ter­pre­ta­tion you can po­ten­tially sti­fle de­bate,’’ she said.

Cr Sum­mer also aired con­cern around rules on the va­lid­ity of e-pe­ti­tions.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Har­riott said the up­dated pro­ce­dures doc­u­ment would be fol­lowed at this month’s coun­cil meet­ing.

Fol­low­ing last month’s meet­ing, Mayor Kim O’Ke­effe wel­comed any up­dates that made meet­ings more ac­ces­si­ble and said coun­cil­lors were typ­i­cally given the chance to amend a no­tice of mo­tion if it was deemed vague or un­clear.

The up­dated pro­ce­dures doc­u­ment had been on pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tion, which at­tracted two sub­mis­sions, one of which was heard at a spe­cial meet­ing of coun­cil. Con­cerned:

Cr Fern Sum­mer thinks an up­dated clause has the po­ten­tial to sti­fle de­bate.

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