Regular reports shunned

October 05, 2016

One longstanding Greater Shepparton City Councillor would like to see more transparency from those elected to council later this month and has called for regular reports back to the council on the committees each councillor sits on.

During the past year, former mayor Jenny Houlihan has been the only councillor to deliver a regular report from her committees to each monthly council meeting and believes similar updates from councillors should be an ‘‘automatic inclusion’’ on council meeting agendas.

‘‘I think it has been an important loss to our community over many years,’’ she said.

‘‘Unlike other councils we do not report on such important work done by our committees.

‘‘All of that work is important, because their advice ends up being a lot of things council does.’’

Cr Houlihan believed such a move would improve transparency and increase public perception and awareness of what councillors do.

She remained disappointed it has been something that ‘‘wasn’t taken up’’.

‘‘A majority of councillors did not favour going down that track,’’ she said.

Mayor Dinny Adem said he had always been supportive of councillor activity statements in offering an indication to the community the work councillors are doing.

While Cr Adem acknowledged he had not submitted reports such as Cr Houlihan’s, he stressed that as mayor he needed to attend more meetings, which ‘‘requires a bit of work and effort’’.

Cr Chris Hazelman remained supportive of the concept of regular reports back.

‘‘What’s been inferred at some stage is the reports are being used for self promotion,’’ he said.

‘‘I think it’s a benefit to the council the reports are represented.’’

Cr Fern Summer believed there was a perception in the community that councillors were highly paid and had office space ‘‘to be doing that work’’ in.

‘‘While I’m happy to look at it, we would need better resources in order to justify it,’’ she said.

Cr Les Oroszvary said if items of particular note or interest had been raised on the committees, he would be more than more than happy to contribute such a report.

‘‘It’s an individual councillor’s choice in relation to doing it,’’ he said.

Cr Dennis Patterson believed it had potential to add value, but said it would be up to a new council to decide whether the proposal had merit.

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