You could say the last Campbelltown Council meeting of the year on Tuesday night had everything and a little bit more. It started with a bang when the Mayor, George Brticevic, ordered the removal of a man in the public gallery who shouted his views during discussion of a domestic violence item on the agenda.
“What about men who are victims of domestic violence,’’ he said at one stage before he was warned that he would be ejected.
The man was asked twice to remain silent and refused, leaving the mayor with no option when he interrupted the meeting a third time.
“Security, please escort the gentleman out of the chamber,’’ Cr Brticevic said, clearly disappointed he had been forced to take such drastic action for the first time since he became mayor back in 2016.
He had been much happier when the meeting started and he welcomed back to the chamber Liberal Party councillor Ted Rowell, who has been on extended sick leave for around two years.
“It’s good to almost have all councillors on deck; let’s hope Cr Ralph George will be back soon so all 15 councillors will attend meetings,’’ Cr Brticevic said.
The next unhappy moment for the mayor came when the meeting moved to an item on the agenda which proposed that he and the general manager go on an overseas study tour next year which could cost ratepayers anywhere between $20,000 and $24,000.
It was no surprise that veteran councillor Paul Lake jumped to his feet to ask if they would be flying economy or business class to the UK and Holland.
Cr Lake, who so far is the only current councillor who will not be seeking re-election at next September’s elections, has never shied from forensically examining any suggestions which involved spending ratepayers’ money.
He can be a bit prickly at times, even during council meetings, but he will be missed. More on that when we’ll take a look at “Lakey’s” council career next year ahead of his impending retirement. He is pictured below in the stands at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
On Tuesday night he got a commitment that a full report would be presented after the trip, including the cost to ratepayers, but not before the mayor bemoaned that going on an overseas trip was “no walk in the park’’.
“I go overseas to work hard, not for a junket,’’ Cr Brticevic said.
The business end of the meeting finished with two triumphs for Cr Warren Morrison, who was complimented on his proposals for a feasibility study into grey water use and an interactive history project across Campbelltown, starting at our newest giant housing estate at Menangle Park.
Before councillors go into camera to discuss confidential items, they stand up, one at a time, for “presentations’’.
Some speak about what they have done in the preceding month, including deputising for the mayor at various functions.
This being the last meeting, the presentations ended with Christmas and festive season wishes to each other, the residents in the public gallery – and the one solitary news reporter in the three seat media table, who had taken a selfie before the meeting got under way – as you do these days..
The mayor, who goes last in these presentations, praised the staff, the other councillors and also complimented the old journo in the media table. Which is the sort of thing that makes journalists start to worry. Our rule, remember, is: if a politician doesn’t like what we’re doing it means we’re doing our job. So when they start praising, well, be careful.
But it was one of those nights and I was glad it was finally over.
On the other hand, I can’t wait till the next meeting in February…