Gender differences removed from title
Baw Baw Shire has reviewed its meeting procedure law.
After receiving one submission on its meeting procedures, the only change council made was removing the need for fellow councillors to refer to the mayor as “Mr Mayor” or “Madam Mayor” during council meetings.
The mayor will now be recognised the same as councillors are in the chamber with the use of their title and surname, such as Mayor Gauci for the current mayor.
The Local Government Act requires council to have a meeting procedure local law to govern and regulate meetings.
It also provides council with a clear understanding of meeting procedure protocol.
A review of the local law gave councillors an opportunity to review protocol on voting, calling of divisions and other procedures.
The review was prompted as a result of council’s decision to broadcast and livestream its council meeting.
Council also reviewed its community participation time policy for meetings.
Officers said the two policies were reviewed to ensure they were consistent, related to each other and there was no ambiguity for the community, councillors or officers on process and protocol.
In the submission received from Don McLean of Warragul, Mr Mclean also suggested a new clause be introduced to the meeting procedures requiring the mayor to vacate the chair if he or she wants to participate in debate.
Mr McLean suggested council include a new clause stating “when the mayor wishes to speak on an item under consideration, the mayor will vacate the chair and take a position on the floor of the chamber and at the conclusion of the contribution to debate, resume the mayoral position.”
Mr McLean said during his 35 years involvement in local government, it was only in extraordinary circumstance that the mayor spoke on agenda item.
However, council did not support change.
Mr McLean also suggested council revert to using the term “chairman” for people chairing meetings rather than chairperson.
He said chairman referred to the person who managed the chair and was not gender specific.
Council did not support the use of “chairman” in its meeting procedure.
Mr McLean also suggested council hold special planning sub-committee meetings for the consideration of planning matters, rather than the current process of them being discussed at in-committee council briefings.
This suggestion was not supported. this