Mayor blasts city slackers
LISMORE Mayor Jenny Dowell says the metropolitan councillors who left the Local Government Association of NSW's annual conference a day early should be "named and shamed".
The conference was left without a quorum on its final day yesterday because of the decision by some councillors not to attend.
More than 500 delegates from major local and county councils met in Shoalhaven on the South Coast over the weekend to discuss and set policies for the year ahead.
With about 300 voting delegates, half-plus-one is required, but yesterday only about 140 voting delegates were present, effectively scuttling the final day of the conference.
Cr Dowell said it appeared mostly city delegates had departed, citing full-time jobs as the reason.
"Frankly, I don't think the full-time work argument washes because this conference is the most important one of the year and when it's three days, you put aside three days," Cr Dowell said.
"It's finished now, very sadly and very embarrassingly. We had 220 motions on the books - we got through about 52, that's all. It is really appalling.
"The rest of us put in the three days and I think it's pathetic and doesn't reflect well on our sector of government."
Cr Dowell said it was a waste of ratepayers' money as councils had to pay for delegates' travel, accommodation and registration costs.
"I think it's time to name and shame - I think it's time for communities to ask their councillors if they were there," she said.
"If they're not prepared to be there for the three days then they (shouldn't) put their hand up to come."
Cr Dowell said most of the Northern Rivers member delegates were there yesterday.
The remaining motions will now be referred to the association's executive for further discussion and debate, but delegates can no longer contribute.
"Under the rules we can't even give guidance by having some kind of indicative vote," Cr Dowell said.
"I feel very sorry for the executive because it really isn't their fault - it comes down to these individual councillors who need to take responsibility."
What do you think about the councillors who skipped the day? Leave a comment below.