Councillors argue rollcall
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.