Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mayne's Whinge: Too many open Council meetings

 Less than one month into his term as a City elder and Stephen Mayne is already complaining about the number of open public meetings he has to attend.  Mayne thinks three meetings a month is too much and he would like to have them reduced to two. (So much for his commitment to transparency and accountability).  most decisions of Council are made behind closed doors and are not minuted or documented. The public or even the Council for that matter have no idea what decisions are being made in the name of the City Council. But three public meetings a month  is too many for Stephen.  Mayne did not get support from his fellow Councillors to have the meetings dates changed but he did foreshadow that we would be seeking to argue (behind closed doors no doubts ) for a reduction in the number of open public meetings sometime in the future. In doing so Mayne made reference to other City Councils who he said held only two such meetings a month.

Stephen has no community base and as such is accountable to no one.   He is a faction of one.  Whilst he seeks to form an alliance with the administration and is reported as not returning members of the local community and City traders phone calls. he is also oblivious to the fact that City of Melbourne Councillors receive substantially more money for their time (over $1,000 a week plus bonus payments, lurkes and lerks and other benefits) much more than in available in other municipalities. Mayne is also oblivious of the provisions of Section 89 of the Local Government Act.

Robert Doyle overseeing Melbourne's commitment to democracy
Robert Doyle once again demonstrated that he was in control and that his mode of management was to provide the community input into the decisions of Council that do manage to get a mention on the Council's agenda.  The Future Melbourne Committee meetings are the only chance members of the public get to express their concerns in an open public forum.  Unlike Stephen Mayne, Robert Doyle intends to retain this right and the opportunity for open transparent democracy.

Mind you the meetings do not really contribute much to the public discourse, but they do provide a forum for some Councillors to hear their own voice and practice public speaking in a closed forum in what is a bonus to the hoards of paid staff who are on the public payroll to attend the talk fests.  There were more staff then public in attendance, costing ratepayers a pretty penny in overtime or time-off in exchange.  It's always good to see Councillor support staff, such as Jack, in attendance. Jack, alias the "Governance Elf",  has been a valuable source of leaked information and gossip about what goes on behind the scenes.

Our award again goes to  Crs Watts and Louey who withheld the need to listen to their own voice and who just voted on the issues before them without debate.  This is efficiency at its best.  Stephen Mayne and other Councillors should learn from them.  The December 11 meeting was over within 90 minutes.

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