Councillor says briefing sessions are "bullying sessions"

IT'S one thing to turn up to meeting, but it's another thing to participate proactively.

That's the opinion of one outspoken Southern Downs councillor, who is calling for a shake-up of council meetings.

Cr Jamie Mackenzie, who attended just 11 of the 19 councillor briefing sessions, described them as "bullying sessions".

"I am all for information sessions for councillors as needed but the so-called 'briefing sessions' in my view are more like 'bullying sessions' where councillors are not given sufficient detail in writing and often only verbal advice," he said.

"This council's practice to have two secret briefing sessions each month followed by duplicated debate of the same issues in a general statutory meeting two weeks later went out-of-date in the early 1990s."

During the past three years of his term as a councillor, Cr Mackenzie has been advocating for monthly meetings to be made fortnightly.

Councillors aren't paid to just have meetings, according to Cr Mackenzie.

"Some may see the role of councillors is to sit through hours and hours of secret meetings discussing the same thing, week to week, over and over and over until we conform to the bureaucratic line," he said.

"We need reform so there is better use of public resources including the staff, councillors and the public's time."

In the past Mayor Peter Blundell has expressed his disappointment at councillors' failure to attend briefing sessions.

"I am particularly disappointed that not all councillors believe it is necessary to attend briefing sessions," he told the Daily News in 2014.

The Daily News attempted to speak with Cr Blundell yesterday, but no response was received by print deadline.



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