Declare interest or resign

COUNCIL has sent a clear message to members of its management committees declare your business interests or resign.

Council voted on Tuesday night to keep the pressure on 22 of 75 committee members who have failed to submit annual disclosure forms due in September last year.

A report by manager of executive services Shireen Donaldson recommended committee members should be stripped of any power to perform council functions, meaning the 30 per cent who haven't made the disclosure would be excused from having to do so.

But a passionate argument by Councillor Alison Balind swayed her colleagues to retain the current structure, forcing council general manager Brett Stonestreet to immediately compile a report into the non-compliers.

"Those who are involved in making recommendations to council need to be as transparent as the 12 councillors because more often than not their recommendations don't get checked," Cr Balind said.

"If we're going to maintain transparency and accountability we all need to be subject to the same conditions, we can't just step back from this because it's too hard.

"Some people are loathe to give out personal information, but we need this to avoid someone coming back to council with an axe to grind claiming we only made a certain decision because it benefitted someone's cousin."

Business Development and Major Projects Management Committee member Paul Pierotti said council had been "treating committees like complete jokes from the beginning". Mr Pierotti has consistently claimed he was justified in refusing to tender his business dealings on the public record because his role was merely to advise councillors rather than make binding decisions.

"If they enforce this rule, we will take this decision to the state government either they give us designated authority or they back off, that's their choice," Mr Pierotti said.

"To this day there is no committee in Griffith which really has designated authority, that is precisely what we have been asking for and if we were given that contractual and regulatory power, we would sign any document."

"If however the committees remain advisory as they are now, it would be improper for council to enforce a designated person rule on community representatives."


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