Swientek not taking back seat on council affairs
AFTER 17 years on the Lismore City Council, Frank Swientek could not stay away from the first meeting at which he wasn't a councillor.
Mr Swientek was in the public gallery on Tuesday night as part of a new group calling themselves Council Watch.
The group was put together by McLeans Ridges resident Trish Gibson, who said they had three main aims: As an advocacy group for residents; as a policy think-tank hoping to influence council's policy-making; and 'to make sure everything is transparent and open'.
There are 13 members on the founding group, but Mrs Gibson said they were planning to become an incorporated association and would be open to anyone.
The group is made up of concerned citizens, two former councillors in Frank Swientek and David Tomlinson, and some unsuccessful candidates from the recent elections.
“When I rang them up and asked them to join, I chose them for their integrity, intelligence and altruism,” Mrs Gibson said.
“We're hoping to get on to various committees and work adjacent to council to help them look into issues and obtain information.”
Mr Swientek said he felt the group would be 'a plus for Lismore'.
“It can only be a healthy thing to scrutinise what's going on and the decisions of council,” he said.
Mr Swientek, who only missed out on getting a seat by 20 votes, said he wasn't sure at this stage what his involvement would be.
“I think there is a real opportunity for various sections of the Lismore council to be monitored,” he said.