New committee rules kick in
COUNCIL CHIEF TO OVERSEE APPOINTMENT, REMOVAL OF MEMBERS OF COMMUNITY ASSET COMMITTEES
A change to Greater Shepparton City Council’s committee structure will streamline the appointment or removal of members.
Changes to the Local Government Act have done away with Section 86 committees, which were previously appointed to oversee community assets such as public halls and recreation reserves.
The 17 community asset committees were established last year and at the August meeting a new policy was formally adopted.
Cr Seema Abdullah said a major change was delegating authority to chief executive Peter Harriott to appoint or remove members of those committees.
‘‘Committees are responsible for the day-to-day management of these facilities across the municipality,’’ Cr Abdullah said. ‘‘We have 117 volunteers across these committees and the delegation to the CEO brings more f lexibility.’’
Historically committee appointments were presented to council meetings for a formal vote to accept the nomination of new members.
Cr Fern Summer opposed the change as another erosion of councillors’ involvement in decision-making.
‘‘They (the committees) do a fantastic job, council wouldn’t be able to function as effectively without them,’’ she said.
‘‘There is one sticking point from my perspective and that is the report doesn’t line up with the Local Government Act.’’
Cr Summer said her own reading of the act failed to find a reference to a requirement for the chief executive to manage committee membership under delegated authority.
‘‘To appoint and remove was a function previously performed by the councillors,’’ she said.
Officers clarified that the information provided was accurate and that legal advice confirmed the proposed policy was appropriate.
Under the Local Government Act the delegation of a chief executive gives them power to act in a range of circumstances unless it is specifically excluded such as appointments to Greater Shepparton’s Development Hearings Panel, which must be put to a council meeting.
Cr Rob Priestly said he was comfortable with the policy and the debate should not detract from the work being done.
‘‘We have 117 volunteers across these different assets,’’ he said.
‘‘These are people doing good work on a voluntary basis and it is the glue that makes communities work.’’
The motion to adopt the policy was carried eight votes to one, with Cr Summer voting against.