Council in committee clash

THE state government has stepped in to help resolve a stand-off between council and one of its own key committees.

Council has required committee members to declare their business interests since September 2013, but 30 per cent of them have intentionally flouted the rule.

Despite repeated reminders to submit annual disclosure forms, some committee members, mainly

from the Business Development and Major Projects Committee, refused to comply.

The debate has centred on the power of committee members to make decisions on council’s behalf and those non-compliant committee members have claimed the recommendations vindicate their position, embarrass council’s management, and ask questions of councillors’ integrity.

Council executive services manager Shireen Donaldson said the Division of Local Government had reviewed the matter and returned two recommendations.

“The Division of Local Government... has returned two recommendations that will be included into the business report for councillors to decide on,” Mrs Donaldson said. 

“Either council changes the structure of the committees to remove the members’ delegated authority or they retain the current committee structure and all committee members would need to

comply with annual disclosure requirements or be removed.

“If the councillors choose to change the structure of the committees, the committee members

wouldn’t have delegated authority as designated persons, they would simply have an advisory capacity.”

Business development committee member Paul Snaidero said the recommendation to recognise the committee has no authority to make decisions has been his position all along.

“We continually said if the committee had power to make executive decisions we wouldn’t have

a problem signing the pecuniary forms but we don’t and the recommendation recognises that,” Mr

Snaidero said. “This really makes council management look very ordinary and raises questions about their competency.

“Whoever gave them the advice in the first place didn’t know what they were talking about and led council right up the garden path.”

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