Council accused of errors of process

Under a changed code of meeting practise for council, deputations from the public will be heard (and will be live streamed) at noon on the day of the council meeting.

Council meetings will continue to start at 2pm.

It is likely that council will be hearing from ex-Bega Valley Shire general manager David Jesson once again today on matters of process.

Council's agenda (business paper) for today's meeting (July 17) covers rates and charges for 2019/20 and was posted online on July 11.

But Mr Jesson was quick to point out to council that Item 3 Waste and Recycling Charges contained an error in the wording.

Mr Jesson said the error meant that council staff were recommending the charges but not that council was actually going to make the charges.

"If the recommendation as printed were to be adopted the outcome would be that the adopted motion would only reflect what the council intends to recommend to itself at some time in the future in relation to the Waste and Recycling Charges. I am sure that is not what you intend. I am sure your intention is to recommend to the council that it actually 'makes' the charge in keeping with the Act," Mr Jesson told acting general manager Anthony McMahon last week.

Mr McMahon said that the wording of the recommendation would be altered during the meeting.

However it was further discovered that the wrong set of figures had been put into the business paper for the waste and recycling charges (2018/19 instead of 2019/20).

The business paper was then changed to reflect the correct figures but Mr Jesson said this should not have happened once a business paper had been published and that the matter should have been dealt with in the open council meeting for complete transparency.

"The fact is that neither the Act nor the Code provide for different versions of a meeting notice to be published regardless of the timing of any purported publishing of a business paper attempting to 'fix' an error," Mr Jesson said.

He said that in his view there were now two versions of the business paper.

The Office of Local Government has been contacted for a comment.

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