Coun­cil­lors ar­gue roll­call

Southern Telegraph - - News - Ai­den Boy­ham

The City of Rock­ing­ham met for its Novem­ber coun­cil meet­ing on Tues­day last week, with sev­eral agenda items trig­ger­ing heated debate among coun­cil­lors.

Dur­ing the meet­ing coun­cil adopted the City Busi­ness Plan 2018-19 to 2027-28, which out­lines a 10-year overview of the city’s fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions.

In­cluded in the plan are fund­ing al­lo­ca­tions and start­ing dates for big projects in­clud­ing stages one and two of the Bal­divis District Sport­ing Com­plex and the Rock­ing­ham Fore­shore Ac­tiv­ity Node.

Notices of mo­tion in­clud­ing lim­its to com­mit­tees, committee at­ten­dance records and a rev­enue ac­tion plan sparked debate around the table.

Cr Lee Down­ham, who moved the item re­lat­ing to committee at­ten­dance records, said it was nec­es­sary to record the at­ten­dance of coun­cil­lors as there were some peo­ple with at­ten­dance rates of less than 50 per cent and that it was a coun­cil­lor’s duty to at­tend meet­ings on be­half of ratepay­ers.

Cr Down­ham’s no­tice of mo­tion sought to di­rect the chief ex­ec­u­tive to pro­vide and main­tain a coun­cil­lor at­ten­dance record for all committee meet­ings (local, metro and re­gional), coun­cil meet­ings, work­shops, train­ing ses­sions and en­gage­ment ses­sions from 2014 on­wards.

Un­der the no­tice of mo­tion a sep­a­rate list was also to be main­tained of coun­cil­lors who have been elected to a committee and for how many years they had served on this committee from 2010 on­wards.

Re­cently elected coun­cil­lor An­drew Burns echoed Cr Down­ham’s sen­ti­ments and said it was nec­es­sary to record the at­ten­dance of coun­cil­lors so the public knew who was pulling their weight.

A num­ber of coun­cil­lors spoke against the mo­tion, cit­ing crit­i­cism of the pro­posed list dat­ing back to 2010.

Cr Down­ham’s mo­tion was de­feated 8-2, be­fore an al­ter­nate mo­tion moved by Cr Mark Jones was car­ried 7-3.

Cr Jones’ mo­tion will see a record of each coun­cil­lor’s at­ten­dance kept for coun­cil meet­ings, Plan­ning and Engi­neer­ing Ser­vices Committee meet­ings, Cor­po­rate and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Committee meet­ings and Coun­cil Ad­vi­sory and Oc­ca­sional Com­mit­tees — which will be pub­lished in the an­nual report.

The coun­cil was also tasked with form­ing a committee of four coun­cil­lors to over­see the re­cruit­ment of a new chief ex­ec­u­tive, after in­cum­bent An­drew Ham­mond ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion on Novem­ber 21.

The coun­cil es­tab­lished that both Mayor Barry Sam­mels and Deputy Mayor Deb Ham­blin should au­to­mat­i­cally be on the committee be­cause of the na­ture of their roles, while a bal­lot was held for the re­main­ing two spots.

Ul­ti­mately, coun­cil­lors Chris El­liott and Joy Ste­wart were the suc­ces­sors from the bal­lot and will join Cr Sam­mels and Cr Ham­blin on the committee.

Mr Ham­mond, who has been chief ex­ec­u­tive at the City since 2008, will fin­ish his ten­ure at the end of April next year.

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