• Tony Bosworth

Mayor uses casting vote three times to overrule objections on confidential GM discussion

Council minutes covering a behind doors discussion about the position of council’s General Manager did not reflect the actual discussion, claimed independent and Greens councillors at this week’s council meeting, but Mayor Patrick Conolly used his casting vote three times to overrule their objections.

At the beginning of each council meeting, it is a statutory requirement that the Minutes of the last meeting be certified as true and accurate. Normally this is a formality waved through unanimously by councillors.

But this week there was a sustained push to not accept those minutes because some councillors said they were not a true representation of what was discussed when it came to item 229 on the agenda – Position of General Manager.

Cllr Danielle Wheeler said she had “senior legal advice that the voting record should be detailed. It’s not an accurate reflection of what happened in that confidential session”.

“It’s not a full and accurate depiction,” added Deputy Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett.

“There is an omission regarding the amendment that should be recorded.”

The independents tried to get an amendment up at this Tuesday’s meeting to include a record of the amendments moved in the closed session on November 24, plus a record of who voted.

A vote was called and the chamber was divided, with the amendment lost on the casting vote of the Mayor.

The independents then tried to get a motion up that said councillors would come back to the issue at the end of the meeting. That failed too, when the Mayor once again used his casting vote to defeat the motion.

“We will be publishing minutes that are not true and accurate,” said the Deputy Mayor, and Cllr Wheeler added, “these minutes are inaccurate. That is not what happened in that meeting.”

Cllr Nathan Zamprogno, who was one of the Liberal and Labor councillors voting with the Mayor on both occasions, said he, “does acknowledge the ebb and flow of debate was not recorded [in the Minutes]” but moved the motion to accept the minutes of the November 24 meeting and was seconded by Cllr Amanda Kotlash.

Again, the chamber was split down the middle, but thanks to the Mayor’s casting vote, the Minutes of the November 24 meeting were adopted as a true and accurate record of that meeting.

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