Councillor Mike Neville is right when he says his job is to be serving the community, “not to be addressing rumours every five minutes”.
There’s not a councillor in the state who would disagree with him but sometimes those rumours are more than mere banter.
And during Tuesday’s meeting of Griffith City Council, it was confirmed that Cr Neville is still eligible to continue as an elected representative.
The NSW Local Government Act does not disqualify someone from being a councillor if they move away from the area, they remain eligible if they occupy or own land in the council area.
Cr Neville continues to attend meetings and fulfill his civic duties.
There is no suggestion that he is shirking his responsibilities as a councillor.
Modern technology allows people to be connected at all times and no doubt it’s how Cr Neville continues to represent members of our community.
He’s been one of our representatives for around 20 years and holds the distinction of being the first popularly elected mayor of Griffith.
While Cr Neville is still eligible to remain on council according to the rules, it doesn’t mean that Cr Neville is exempt from ratepayers asking questions about his move to Albury and how it impacts his role as a councillor.
Ratepayers are within their rights to be questioning whether Cr Neville’s focus is on what’s best for the city’s future.
They would also be right in asking if: Cr Neville would have been better off resigning his post and giving someone else a chance to take his place?
Voters would also be able to ask if Cr Neville has the time and opportunity to learn more about new issues as they arise in time.
The salary of a councillor isn’t much but residents and ratepayers would be well within their rights to ask if they’re getting enough bang for their buck.
These are all questions that Cr Neville would be well-familiar with as a long-serving councillor and mayor.
No doubt, these are questions he’s already asked himself, but perhaps it’s worth taking time to answer these questions for the benefit of ratepayers?