Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley said she was fed up with the behaviour of some of her colleagues, responding to a recent South Coast Register opinion piece critical of inefficiencies at the April meeting.
She conceded productivity dipped to a low at the recent council meeting.
"I agree that Tuesday night's meeting was, as with many other meetings, a particularly long and frustrating effort for all," Mayor Findley said.
"Trying to find meeting time for the majority of councillors to attend is difficult due to the work commitments of many of our councillors who need to continue to work to support themselves, that's what makes the grandstanding even worse as it is in effect disrespecting the commitment that we all make in attending the meetings and basically just trying to do the work that we were elected to do."
"Tuesday night's meeting did have the very controversial issues of the Huskisson Anglican Church and West Culburra legal action and although they have been debated before and there essentially was no new information introduced in the debate councillors still felt the need to debate the issues ad nauseam.
"So in effect the inability of all to be respectful to the amount of time we have to do the business in meant that some of our councillor colleagues are now disenfranchised from making important decisions which is poor practice and has required some very lengthy discussion to try and accommodate the strong view points prior to the recommencement of the meeting."
The mayor has put forward the following solutions to time-wasting at council meetings.
1. Hold deputations outside of the council meeting
It happens at neighbouring council, Kiama, where deputees make their presentations on the Monday before councillors meet on Tuesday.
The mayor would like this structure for the Shoalhaven.
However her suggestion has been met with opposition from most of her colleagues.
"Council meetings seem to be getting more and more deputations - the deputations are valuable for gaining insight into the thoughts of the community or those that are affected by the issues raised within business papers," Mayor Findley said.
"In the past I have raised with council on a number of occasions that deputations should not be part of the formal meeting but an earlier session that allows for more free speech. Council staff brought this suggestion to last September's meeting and once again it was rejected by the majority of council.
"As a way to overcome this I will once again suggest that deputations start at 3pm on the day of the meetings (Ordinary, Development and Strategy and Assets) to try and get some further efficiency into the process. I doubt that this will be supported and I will be accused of trying to reduce transparency, but there are other ways that the deputations can be dealt with that allow for transparency."
2. Mayor, councillors must combine to keep debate succinct
Mayor Findley said she needs the support of her colleagues to ensure the debate does not digress.
"As Chair of the meeting, I do my very best to be fair and unbiased, the main tools I have to undertake my role are the code of meeting practice," she said.
"The code of meeting practice states that there should be two speakers for and against a motion and then a procedural motion can be put to move the meeting on. You might recall that councillors at Tuesday's meeting didn't support the procedural motion so the debate kept going until it was exhausted."
3. Address 'uncontroversial' items first
"I worked with Councillor Andrew Guile to introduce the 'Call over" of the business paper as an early part of the agenda - this should have been an efficiency measure - to move uncontroversial issues that have thorough reports and require no debate," Mayor Findley said.
"However some councillors either dislike the process, don't understand what is going on or are wilfully pulling out items to extend the meeting."
4. More thorough research, study required before meetings
Councillors can save time at meetings by probing council staff beforehand.
"Councillors are given the papers to read well in advance and some items are very straight forward and really require no debate - receiving the papers in advance also allows the councillors to ask questions of staff to clarify any issues they might have," Mayor Findley said.
5. No more attacks on the chairperson
Mayor Findley has defended her decision to call an adjournment on Tuesday night during an argument with Councillor Greg Watson.
"The role of the chair is to maintain order in the meeting - disorderly conduct is generally when a councillor plays the person not the issue," Mayor Findley said.
"Calling points of order and ruling on them appropriately is a challenge and I do my very best to do so in a fair way. Occasionally a motion of dissent in my rulings is used as a weapon to undermine the authority of the chair.
"The Shoalhaven Independents have a working majority and as far as I am concerned have weaponised the dissent motion - dissent motions are rarely used with the chairs of any of the other main committees but are a fairly regular thing in the ordinary meeting.
"At Tuesday's meeting Councillor Watson refused to comply with the ruling from the chair and left me no other choice but to move through the process of expulsion and as expected he remained in the room as his colleagues supported him to get away with his poor behaviour.
"Cr Watson had accused me of lying about him but he has the Code of Conduct under which he can request an apology. Bringing that to the chamber was a stunt on his behalf and unbecoming of a councillor who claimed during his campaign that he wanted to return dignity to the role of Mayor. For those who watch council's webcast they see week in week out the attacks to the chair and poor behaviour.
"It is frustrating but I have a limited suite of tools and one of them is actually trusting that councillors come to work with intent to move the meetings forward in a constructive way."