Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Council Divided over Requirement to Do Things by the Book

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Council Divided over Requirement to Do Things by the Book

Article excerpt

Byline: Melissa Grant


When communicating with the public or media, make it clear when expressing a personal opinion and when speaking on behalf of council

Declare conflict or perceived conflicts of interest

Seek reimbursement for expenses incurred by mandatory or essential professional development, including meal and travel costs

Keep the mayor up to date with issues within your portfolio, including any media statements

Publicly support decisions of council

Be open, honest and transparent in dealings with fellow councillors

Comply with requirements about use of entitlements provided under local government policies

IT'S the 101 guide to being a councillor, a handbook that lists what you can and can't do.

And if a councillor doesn't do things by the book they may face a verbal reprimand from their leader, Mayor Col Meng.

Saying something to the public that may be considered inflammatory is a big no no, as is speaking out against a decision more than a few days afterwards.

Keeping the mayor abreast of issues that fall within your portfolio is a must and you must be sure to refer any constituent onto the relevant councillor if their concern doesn't relate to your own portfolio.

And just to be clear, you should always state whether the view you are expressing is that of your own or that of council.

The handbook includes a councillor charter, a list of revised reimbursement of expenses, media policy and guidelines on how to conduct one's self in a meeting.

Councillors yesterday adopted the four documents for inclusion in the handbook.

However, councillors Deidre Comerford and Karen May voted against including the revised reimbursement expenses section, while the pair and councillor Wendy Cameron opposed the charter. …

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