Blue Mountains News
Customer Service and Council Meetings
Council has in the last 12 months convened on 21 occasions, with 8 of those being extraordinary meetings. Councillors have also been required to convene informal information meetings for training and background purposes on 19 occasions additional to Council meetings.
“As Mayor, I am entitled to call extra-ordinary Council meetings to consider any matter requiring a decision by Council,” Mayor Stephen Lesslie said. “Should this be required I will convene such a meeting,” Cr Lesslie continued. “I did this only as recently as 2 August to allow the Community to put in recommendations for Government grants,” Cr Lesslie said.
Council’s General Manager Graeme Faulkner advised that he had already been put on notice by Council that should Customer Service issues require, ie DA approval or any matter of urgency, then the Administration would respond to Mayor or Councillor request for an Extraordinary meeting of Council at any time, and particularly during the months of December and January in each year, when families are traditionally away over the Christmas/New Year holiday break.
“The December /January period in each year is always difficult from a community consultation perspective, with care being taken to ensure that significant matters that would impact the community are not dealt with in their absence during the school holiday break,” said Mr Faulkner.
“A recent conference facilitated by IPART representatives in Dubbo highlighted the need to ensure that community consultation on Integrated Planning Processes and rate variations for example should not be conducted during this period because of the absence of members of the community who may be impacted,” said Mr Faulkner.
“That being said, there is a need for balance from a customer service perspective, and Council had considered that a more timely response by way of extraordinary council meeting could be effective as it has been in the past.”
“Council’s past meeting practice of 8 extraordinary meetings in addition to normal advertised meetings (13) and information sessions since August 2016 demonstrates Council’s ready willingness to meet to consider business for the benefit of the community. Council can consider if fixed meetings in December and January are preferable to the flexibility offered by the extraordinary council meeting process,” said the General Manager.
This article archived 22 Oct 2017
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