New council meeting structure given time to shape up

IT IS one month since the Southern Downs Regional Council's new meeting structure was introduced but councillors are divided as to whether it is working.

At this week's general meeting, deputy mayor Ross Bartley proposed the council introduce two general meetings a month instead of one.

"This way, we are rolling out business every fortnight and don't have to wait a month to put it up for a resolution to this council ... that is just too long," he said.

"It will help keep a continuous flow of business."

Cr Vic Pennisi agreed it would be a better system.

"It doesn't mean we will need a report from each department every fortnight," he said.

"It will allow us to let things lay on the table instead of waiting a full month."

It was at this point the chief executive officer, Andrew Roach stepped in.

"Councillors can call a special meeting at any time," he said.

"We can deal with emerging issues should they arise.

"The council asked me to design a new system which hasn't even been in place for a month.

"I'm fine if you want to change but surely you could give it a bit longer to prove the difference it will make to the council."

The new structure saw an end to committee meetings and the introduction of briefing sessions - leaving the council meeting only once a month.

Cr Neil Meiklejohn agreed with Mr Roach.

"I think we should stick to what we said we would do and review it in May," he said.

The same thoughts were shared by Cr Denise Ingram.

"I'd be quite happy with two meetings but I do think we haven't given this new structure enough time," she said.

"It is okay and I think we need to continue with what we agreed to."

Crs Bartley, Pennisi, Mackenzie and Gow then voted for the introduction of an extra general meeting.

But Crs Meiklejohn, Rees, McNally and Ingram were against change, so the deciding vote came down to mayor Peter Blundell.

He voted to leaving the structure as it stands.



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