Lismore City councillor’s ‘mixed feelings’ over shock resignation
LISMORE City Council stalwart Gianpiero Battista has resigned from his role of councillor.
Making the announcement on social media, Mr Battista said it was with "mixed feelings" that he has decided to step down from council after 12-years as a councillor.
"I have enjoyed most of my last 12 years as councillor representing our ratepayer but feel I can no longer effectively be the change which is why I have made this decision," Mr Battista said.
"The mixed feelings are both sadness and relief.
"This was not a light decision and it has been on my mind for the last couple of months with origins since the last election four years ago.
"The sadness comes as I will not be able to represent the views of my community, and those who have supported me throughout my tenure.
"However, I am relived as the frustration and emotions after each council meeting will no longer be present."
Mr Battista said recent actions taken by council has forced him to reconsider his position and he was unable to continue working with the "leadership vacuum".
"Some examples of this are; continuous and unanswered requests for meaningful information; deliberate exclusion from important decisions such as the $2m offer to refurbish the Lismore Lake Pool and being excluded from accessing Council's emails and information.
"And finally and probably the issue for me that has broke the camel's back was the incredible resistance and opposition to my Notice of Motion which was trying to raise funds to improve the Lismore budget and also save jobs.
"Spending ratepayer's money for legal advice on whether Council should ask their employees to donate 10 per cent to save some of their colleagues' jobs is just one example that has impacted my belief in council's management capacity of good reason."
Despite the abrupt departure, Mr Battista said he was "very proud" of his time on council, including:
•stopping a 17 per cent SRV increase
•funding for the museum lift
•changing to 20 per cent the local content criteria for council's tenders over $150,000
•proposing a 20 per cent reduction and freeze in CBD rates for at least the next two years
•the backing of the redevelopment of the Lismore Regional Gallery
•the unwavering support for NORPA
With the NSW local council elections postponed for 12-months due to COVID-19 limitations, Mr Battista said making the decision to resign was the right one.
"I have served this community well and in normal circumstances we would be now in 'caretaker mode' due to a pending election," Mr Battista said.
"Thank you to those employees at Lismore City Council who have supported me and the elected Councillors. I wish you all the best and much success in the coming years."