I’M NOT SYD­NEY’S LAZIEST COUN­CIL­LOR

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - BEN PIKE

THIS is the coun­cil­lor dubbed “no-show” Joe by his fel­low coun­cil­lors, who are ask­ing if there is any other lo­cal politi­cian with a worse record of at­ten­dance in Syd­ney.

Now Fair­field Mayor Frank Car­bone is threat­en­ing to cut Joe Mol­luso’s $29,000 salary if he doesn’t show up for the Oc­to­ber 2 coun­cil meet­ing.

But Mr Mol­luso has hit back, declar­ing “coun­cil brief­ings are for dum­mies” and 80 per cent of coun­cil meet­ings are a waste of time.

The Lib­eral and for­mer failed may­oral can­di­date has had the low­est at­ten­dance at coun­cil meet­ings for five of the past six years, ac­cord­ing to Fair­field Coun­cil doc­u­ments.

He has at­tended an av­er­age of 20 coun­cil and com­mit­tee meet­ings per year since 2012, com­pared with 34 for other coun­cil­lors.

Be­tween 2013 and 2015, he at­tended less than half the av­er­age num­ber of meet­ings com­pared with ev­ery­one else.

“All coun­cil­lors are en­cour­aged to at­tend, par­tic­i­pate, de­bate and make de­ci­sions, no mat­ter what their view on matters,” said in­de­pen­dent mayor Frank Car­bone, who was ex­pelled from the La­bor Party in 2016.

“How­ever, I am con­cerned at the long history of poor at­ten­dance with­out a rea­son­able ex­pla­na­tion be­ing recorded or pro­vided.

“I am in­ves­ti­gat­ing how to cut or re­duce his pay.

“The com­mu­nity ex­pects no work, no pay.

“I am won­der­ing: Is he the laziest coun­cil­lor in Syd­ney?” Fel­low Fair­field coun­cil­lor Char­bel Sal­iba said he is “known to other coun­cil­lors as ‘ no-show Joe’ be­cause he of­ten doesn’t show up to brief­ings or com­mit­tee meet­ings”.

If a coun­cil­lor is ab­sent from three con­sec­u­tive or­di­nary meet­ings of the coun­cil with­out the coun­cil’s approval, their of­fice au­to­mat­i­cally be­comes va­cant, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment.

Mr Mol­luso has nar­rowly avoided that fate.

But Mr Mol­luso said the coun­cil needs to look at bet­ter ways to use coun­cil­lors’ time.

“Coun­cil brief­ings are for dum­mies who can’t read the re­ports,” he said. “If I miss the odd coun­cil meet­ing, so what? I am also not one to show up for coun­cil pho­tographs and smile while shov­el­ling dirt.

“Eighty per cent of coun­cil meet­ings are taken up by pre­sen­ta­tions and may­oral min­utes. They need to re­duce the num­ber of meet­ings. Many of the out­come and ser­vices com­mit­tee meet­ings take an av­er­age of five min­utes — it’s a joke.”

A spokesman from the NSW Of­fice of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment said they “ex­pect coun­cils to dili­gently serve their com­mu­ni­ties”.

“Ul­ti­mately, the com­mu­nity can pass judg­ment on the per­for­mance of coun­cil­lors at the bal­lot box every four years,” a spokesman said. “Where a coun­cil­lor’s pe­riod of ab­sence ex­ceeds three months, coun­cils are not per­mit­ted to pay the coun­cil­lor.”

Fair­field coun­cil­lor Joe Mol­luso is fac­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of lazi­ness for not turn­ing up to meet­ings.Frank Car­bone, Char­bel Sal­iba.

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