The move by the Mayor not to read out public questions at the council meeting of March 16 is in breach of the council Governance Rules.
I would like to remind the Mayor and fellow councillors of their obligations. The council statement reads as follows.
All members of this council pledge to the Bass Coast Shire community to consider every item listed on this evening’s agenda:
• Based on the individual merits of each item;
• Without bias or prejudice by maintaining an open mind; and
• Disregarding councillors’ personal interests to avoid any conflict with our public duty.
There were 14 questions responded to in the minutes of the meeting, was there any more we don’t know?
Division 8 – Public Question Time states:
53.1 There must be a public question time at every council meeting fixed under rule 9 to enable members of the public to submit questions to council.
53.5 The chair or a member of council staff nominated by the chair may read at the meeting a question which has been submitted in accordance with the rules.
53.6 A question may be disallowed by the chair if the chair determines that it: one relates to a matter outside the duties, functions and powers of council is defamatory, indecent, abusive, offensive, irrelevant, trivial, or objectionable in language or substance.
As none of the questions fall under 53.6, there were no reasons for all of these questions not to be read out and the Mayor’s comments that it would take up too much time is absurd. The Mayor has shown his disregard for council procedures and a lack of respect to the Bass Coast residents that take the time to interact with council. Other councillors also stand condemned for not calling out the attitude of the Mayor on this matter.
This council meeting was over in 75minutes; how long would 14 questions – if that was all – have taken to respond to?
As ratepayers we have procedures and rules to work with to ask a question, surely we can expect council to work within their governance rules, and we have the right to know how many questions and what was the answers at the respective meeting.
John Trigt, Surf Beach.