Paulines’ Council Blog – July 2017

Hi Everybody,

Pauline Rowe

Pauline Rowe

Well it has been a while since I have done a blog as the past 7 to 8 months have been an absolute travesty during Council Meetings with unruly behaviour from some obstreperous Councillors with Notice of Motions being “stolen”, lots of Point of Orders being thrown around so to say it has been a tumultuous time for our Councillors is an understatement, however, just when things look like they were calming down and Council was getting back to their job of running the Council for the benefit of the community we are off again.

Many good ideas and Notice Of Motions for the betterment of the community and these have been put to Council only to be voted against just to score political points – very sad but very real.

Now to June and July’s meeting’s.

June’s meeting passed with no major dramas and in one of the shortest times for a meeting since October, 2016 (The fact that State of Origin was on that night might have helped keep civility in the Chambers and moved things along at break neck speed).

Our own Ian Bailey continued his speaking at the Council every month highlighting concerns re continued rubbish problems in Liverpool- keep up the good work Ian.

NOM01 – There were several other speakers representing small business on the night supporting a Notice of Motion to assist shop owners in Macquarie Mall. Council had proposed to raise their rates from $1,000 per year to $3,000 per year for the use of seating pods in Macquarie Mall – LCIT amended the Motion to freeze any increases for 12 months the motion was carried unanimously.

IHAP MATTER – Construction of a 10-unit boarding house and demolition of existing dwelling at 24 Madang Street, Holsworthy – Councillors voted unanimously to reject the application – Boarding house applications are ever increasing in the Liverpool area and need to be assessed individually, this was a good result for the existing residents in the area.

Shepherd Street Planning Proposal-  Draft Liverpool Local Environmental Plan 2008 (Amendment 65)

This is rather a complex matter, but in short further development has been requested in this area increasing the number of units from 850 to 1,200.

LCIT Clr Peter Harle moved a Foreshadowed Motion Seconded by LCIT Clr Karress Rhodes that this matter be deferred until Councillors can be fully briefed on the CBD Traffic Study that has been done and see the proposed plans for the intersection upgrades that is intended to mitigate the identified traffic and access issues for this Development.  This Motion was carried unanimously

This is a major development affecting all surrounding residents and a substantial cost to Council so it is good to see that our Councillors are actually doing their job looking after the community and Council interests.

(Review of Mayor and Councillor Fees)

Liverpool City Council has been upgraded from a tier 3 to a tier 2 Council, hence the Mayor and Councillors are entitled to receive a 20% increase in their annual allowance.

LCIT Cllr Peter Harle seconded by LCIT Cllr Karress Rhodes moved a motion to reject the 20% increase but to continue with the standard 2 ½% yearly CPI increase – Cllr Harle and Cllr Rhodes spoke to their motion and believed a 20% increase to allowances, given the current economic climate and the fact that the average worker is receiving little to no wage increases made it outrageous for Councillors to even contemplate such a high increase.

This is where it gets interesting. I was actually at the meeting and contrary to Press and Print media and the Mayor’s statements, the vote was not carried unanimously. Labour Party members voted in favour of the 20% increase and against the LCIT Motion not to accept the 20% increase The LCIT motion to reject the 20% increase in allowance was only carried with the support of the Liberal Party.

I am dismayed that so many media outlets have showcased that the Mayor of Liverpool (and in turn her party) alone rejected a pay rise. This is disrespectful to the actual Councillors who proposed and supported this motion to reject this pay rise and is simply not factual to the voting proceedings on this motion at the meeting.

Well, those who were there know who and how they voted, so, congratulations to the LCIT and Liberal Councillors for their wise decision.

Having been associated with Councillors for nearly 9 years I see the work they do behind the scenes and the amount of time they spend on issues and for the most, many of them actually care and are very dedicated. The amount of money they receive to do this is job is minimal and in some instances, it actually costs them more than they earn and they probably do deserve a 20% increase, however, many of them perform this role as a community service not a get rich quick role.

During an Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee (ARIC) meeting May 2017 it was proposed to reduce the quorum of Councillor attendees from 2 to 1 including the Deputy Mayor.

Councillor Karress Rhodes moved an amendment to a motion to maintain 2 Councillors including the Deputy Mayor, on the ARIC and to reject the motion to reduce the number of Councillors to just one Councillor representative. The amendment was seconded by Councillor Peter Harle

The amendment to maintain two Councillor representations was thought necessary by the LCIT Councillors to maintain a democratic and transparent process at one of the Council’s most important Committee’s.

The Motion was declared lost when it failed to win support from either the Labor or Liberal Party.

In October 2016, it was suggested that Council analyse the costs and benefit of an Ombudsman model for Liverpool Council and request a report to Council on the findings of this analysis. This basically means that an Ombudsman would be employed by Council on a part time basis to provide residents, staff and Councillors with an “independent ear” regarding issues.
The position has been filled by a Council Staff member already employed at Council.
My personal concern with this is that it does not deliver an outside independent Ombudsman that was the intention of creating the position.

COMMUNITY NURSERY: (Environment and Advisory Committee)
Much has been said about this project and if you hadn’t attended Council Meetings or been associated with some of those people on the Environmental Advisory Committee, no one would be any the wiser as to what was happening here. This matter has been an ongoing issue for several years and discussed by LCIT’s Councillors and members. The final decision was to reject the stand-alone Community Facility project in favour of a “Multi-purpose Facility” that could be incorporated into a broader community needs basis. Not everyone has access to all the information presented at the Environmental Advisory Committee meeting where it was thoroughly discussed and analysed, including the most cost effective method of delivering the variety and quantity of plants required by Liverpool City Council on an annual basis. Initially I thought this was a good idea as well until I heard the negatives re the costs involved with the plants being propagated and whether it was a viable project to be able to deliver the number and variety of plants or not. I can’t personally answer whether it is or not, but one of our members has had a great deal of experience in this field and I can only go on what I have learned.

As Council meetings go proceedings seemed to be quite civil and Councillors were respectful to each other for a change, treating issues with a view to what was best for the community.

Pauline Rowe

Please note all comments made are the personal opinions and reflections of Pauline Rowe only and are not indicative of any membership or affiliation with any other party.

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