TENTERFIELD’S new council has already had a plea to work together and a stern reminder it is under the constant eye of the Division of Local Government (DLG).
At its first meeting last week which saw Peter Petty elected as mayor, general manager Lotta Jackson said she had already had a call from the DLG.
“It is disappointing to report that within even a week of the new council being elected, the Division of Local Government have been contacted by some or one of you,” Ms Jackson told council.
She said she had been asked to explain what steps she had taken to inform new councillors about the ongoing Best Practice Review Action Plan which outlined recommendations the division had asked council to act on.
Ms Jackson said she had told the division a report would be presented to council at the first meeting, and they had been “delighted to advise” the step was appropriate.
“I SINCERELY hope that you will understand you have the right to contact the Division of Local Government at any time, but know that they will be in contact with me because we are being investigated because of their concerns about us,” she told council.
“I am just reiterating we need to work together and we need to have a good relationship.”
New councillor Blair Maxwell said he had rung the Division of Local Government, but it had been about a different matter.
He said his previous discussions with the division and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) had left him with the information that no corruption had been found at council, but there had been “maladministration”.
Ms Jackson said the report to council addressed all the issues included in the Best Practice Review Action Plan.
She said the issue was “very emotive”.
“It is so important,” she said. “You as councillors are being watched and it is critical you understand your role as councillors.
“It is quite difficult for me to sit here and talk about this because it is so important that you understand for this community. You have all said you will work together for the community and I hope you don’t repeat what has happened in the past.”
Cr Maxwell said he understood the administration of council had also been in the spotlight.
Ms Jackson said she was being monitored “on a weekly basis”.
“You are our first public figures,” she warned. “The DLG is 100 per cent happy with my performance with this council.”
The discussion prompted a heated plea from Cr Petty, who stood up to tell council he had put his hand up for the job as mayor because he was “passionate” about the role of council.
“I do not want to go back to where we have been for maybe not the last four years, but the past three years,” he said.
“We need to get on with the job. I am so confident we can work together. I don’t want to look back, I want to look forward.
“The day we don’t talk to each other or to the staff… don’t do that. We have got a job to do. Please be aware of that.”
He said he hoped councillors who needed information about procedures or policy would first seek information from the general manager before going to the Division of Local Government.
Earlier in the meeting, Cr Petty had been elected one vote ahead of new councillor Mary Leahy.