Council to highlight attendance records

A report on meeting attendance records will be tabled at Mount Gambier City Council’s next elected members meeting, after a motion alleged councillors were “consistently absent” from meetings.

Council voted in favour of the motion by Councillor Max Bruins at its last elected members meeting, where it was alleged councillors were not “fulfilling their role in line with community expectations”. “Upon standing for election, all elected members have made a commitment to the community to stay informed, participate in debate and fulfil their duties in a responsible manner,” Cr Bruins said.

“Attendance at certain meetings of late would indicate that not all are taking this commitment seriously. “The community has a right to … remain informed of those elected members who are consistently absent and not fulfilling their role in line with community expectations.”

The initial motion was seconded by Cr Ben Hood but received an amendment by Cr Kate Amoroso that was subsequently seconded by Cr Steven Perryman. The amendment added the to-be-prepared attendance report reflect the required duties under the Local Government Act of a councillor, specifically with attendance at meetings. It also added the report “reflect the time frame given to councillors for notice of meetings”.

Alongside the tabling of the motion by Cr Bruins, Cr Perryman presented his attendance records and drew attention to the fact records are already made public in the minutes of council’s six meetings. “If there’s anyone in the community who wants to check attendance they can,” Cr Perryman said. Also rising to comment on the motion were Councillors Christian Greco and Paul Jenner.

Cr Jenner said personal circumstances had stopped him from going to a recent meeting, attending an appointment that required a three-month wait. “At the end of the day, we have lives outside of council,” Cr Jenner said. Cr Greco asked if the motion would consider private meetings or extra commitments, to which Cr Bruins responded: “No, because it’s another drain on resources if you do not turn up.”

In addition, Cr Greco asked if the motion was directed at particular councillors, to which Cr Bruins said it was aimed at the whole of council. “It’s embarrassing when we turn up at workshops with third party providers and the chamber is empty,” Cr Bruins said.

Also responding to the motion was Mayor Lynette Martin, who said attendance by members in the current council term “has been disappointing”. The Mayor also disagreed with Cr Perryman’s critique that council overuses member workshops.

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