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Why councillors plan to vote themselves off council committee

Transparency, trust and supporting open government are the themes for this year’s Right to Know Week during September 24-30.

Let’s just hope the message reaches Campbelltown Council because all three are in short supply.

The question really is, who is running Campbelltown Council and the controversial proposal to establish a high falutin committee is a case in point.

It landed on the councillors’ laps at the September 11 council meeting.

The way I saw it from the media table that evening was that councillors were expected to simply rubber stamp the plan and the invitations would go out to the people on a list already prepared by council staff.

Cr George Greiss twice asked the general manager why councillors had not been brought in earlier in the process and twice he got obfuscation for his trouble.

Cr Greiss successfully moved an amendment that all councillors be part of this committee and it was duly passed and made part of the motion establishing this committee.

But just a few days later I heard on the grapevine that a rescission motion would be lodged to overturn the decision and in effect cancel the decision.

As you will read in my report on this, no reasons were given for the rescission motion lodged and which was signed by three Labor Party councillors, Meg Oates, Ben Gilholme and Masood Chowdhury.

Indeed no councillor I spoke to was willing to go on the record about why this rescission motion was lodged.

Well, I am prepared to make an educated guess why this has come about: including councillors in the Campbelltown Alliance has not gone down well in certain places.

The rescission motion is certainly not aimed at establishing the Campbelltown Alliance plan as such – it is all about keeping councillors out of it.

If the motion gets up on October 9, under the rules the proposal for this committee cannot be reintroduced for a vote for three months.

But sure as night follows day it will be brought back after that and the councillors will be asked to rubber stamp it once again.

First though, councillors will vote to stop themselves from being on the committee.

Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true: the people you went to the polls and elected in September 2016 plan to vote to stop themselves from being members of a council committee.

It begs the question: who is running Campbelltown Council these days.

It’s not the councillors, I can tell you that much.





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