MASTERS DEFERMENT FAILS

Cr Peter Epov

Is it fear of loss of face, bull-headed stubbornness or genuine belief the Masters is the best medicine for us all?  But the plan to defer the decision on Masters for six more months, has been stomped on by Council. 

At the November MidCoast Council meeting, Director of Corporate Services, Steve Embry, proposed a recommendation that the Masters Office Centralisation project be advanced further by short listing four companies for the role of Project Manager.

Cr Troy Fowler (Liberal, Foster) formally moved the recommendation and Cr Pontin (Labor Hallidays Point) seconded.

Declined to Speak

Curiously, when invited to speak to his motion by the Mayor, Cr Fowler declined and did not speak during the debate. Cr Pontin also declined to speak on the motion but “reserved the right to speak later” .

Cr Peter Epov (Independent Wingham) then moved that:

“That this matter be deferred for a period of 6 months until after Council reviews its financial statements for the previous year 2018/19 when Council is in a position to understand the consequence of additional expenditure that may be incurred as a result of bush fires and any water supply issues as a result of Level 4 water restrictions.”

The Amendment was seconded by Cr Bell (Independent Taree).

No Audited Financial Statements

Epov argued that as Council’s Financial position was unclear given that the Audited Financial Statements for the 2018/19 had not been presented to Council by the legislated deadline and would not now be presented until February 2020, he also expressed concern that as there was no Quarterly Budget Review Statement for the period July to September 2019 (also as required) nor the updated Long Term Financial Plan the matter should be deferred for 6 months. 

This is not particularly radical thinking. Plunging ahead with no clear idea of what’s in the kitty, versus  sensible clear financial planning, should be a given for a responsible Council. 

$1 Million from Water Fund

Mr Epov pointed out that the Master’s Financing Strategy was reliant on a $1 million contribution from the Water Fund and that perhaps those funds should be reserved for potential issues to do with the drought, water security and the bushfires.

Staff intrusion in debate?

The issue was also marred with some controversy regarding the right (or intrusion) of staff to speak during the debate. 

Councillor Epov moved a Point of Order and objecting to Mr Embry speaking after Cr Epov had concluded speaking on his Amendment.

Following the meeting Cr Epov said:

“I have no issue with Staff assisting Councillors during a debate with clarifications, but I strongly object to Staff speaking and repeating what they have already stated in their printed Reports.” (This can amount to trying to influence the debate. Ed) 

His amendment was lost 7 votes to 3 with Mayor  West, Cr K Smith, Cr L Roberts, Cr C Pontin, Cr J McWilliams, Cr K Hutchinson, Cr T Fowler all voting against the amendment.

Renewal of Grazing Licence at Dawson River Sewerage Treatment Plant

At this same meeting, Council granted a grazing licence at Dawson River Sewerage Treatment Plant (where there’s always feed) for a period of three (3) years commencing on 1 January 2020 to the Licensee, Mr David West.

The grazing licence did not go out to public tender. 

Only one Councillor voted against the recommendation. Guess who? 

‘I hate to sound a negative sort of person,’ sighed Cr Epov. ‘But someone has to keep standing up and say, No that’s not right.’ 

The community loses. Again. 

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4 Responses to MASTERS DEFERMENT FAILS

  1. Gary Hayes says:

    No surprises here. This pig headed lot of councillors, apart from three sensible ones really don’t seem to give a stuff about anything ,except for going ahead full steam with the unnecessary Masters’ fiasco.
    Cr Epov has constantly been the most level headed of the bunch, and cops criticism for his opposing views on a regular basis.

  2. Graham Barnes says:

    Never in my seventy years on this planet have I ever come across such an out of control council. A council that has a mind to defy, ignore and have no regard to it residents. In the past this council would normally be investigated and more than likely put into admistration. Here is the double whammy, neither has State with all the representations that it has received backed the residents. Yet another poor example of leadership. Out us pray we have real leadership and openness come September 2020.

  3. Don Howard says:

    There never was any harmony with this council.. There are only 3 councilors that support the majority of peoples thinking… How can these councilors say they represent the people and their thinking , when over 10,000 local residents do not want the Masters project..The 10,000 is only a small sample of the local peoples thinking…Come Sept, I hope that these ratbags get what is coming to them… AND that a new council dispatches some of the paid staff with staff that will do what the people want…

  4. Maureen Camilleri says:

    How dare they use the water fund money than for anything else other than to assist with our security of water supply in this historical drought..the Council is showing nothing but utter contempt for the people of the region..Mr West how dare you..how do you sleep at night, hand back the newly granted 3 year Stock feed Lease and put it up for Public tender better still phone John Laws for a cup of tea and sympathy.bring on 2020 Elections..

    *WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF CATASTROPHIC FIRES AND DROUGHT.
    YOUR PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING YET
    YOU ARE USING THE $1million WATER FUND MONEY TO MOVE YOUR OFFICES..

    *YOU GRANT THE MAYOR A 3 YEAR LEASE TO A STOCK FEED ALLOTMENT THAT WAS NOT PUT OUT FOR PUBLIC TENDER, THAT LEASE WOULD HAVE GIVEN OUR FARMERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAVE THEIR STOCK AND LIVLIHOOD..

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