There is a council election on September 12, 2020, and if you are concerned about the Shoalhaven, I suggest you try and attend at least one council meeting or listen to the meeting recordings at https://webcast.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/ to observe the unbecoming conduct of some of our elected councillors.
I understand that Amanda Findley, our elected mayor, was not elected to attend the recent NSW annual Local Government Association conference, as a result of an internal vote by fellow councillors.
The charge seems to be led by one councillor in particular. At last year's conference, on behalf of our Indigenous community, Mayor Findley made an amendment to one of the motions going to the national conference, which was involving The Uluru Statement from The Heart.
She had been told by some councillors that she was not to speak about this issue. How democratic or representative is that?
In the Shoalhaven, we have a popularly elected mayor, as opposed to being chosen from amongst the councillors, and as such, she is elected to represent the residents' needs, and is not restricted to the demands of some of the councillors.
I think it is ironic that when the mayor has a mayoral minute on the agenda, the same particular councillor stands up and disagrees with her proposal, and puts his own agenda forward, which is passed by the usual block of councillors. This means the mayoral minutes are continually defeated.
In the past 12 months or so, three directors have been replaced. The selection of these people was outsourced to one of the three proposed recruitment companies.
The mayor put forward a proposal suggesting that a different company be engaged to select the new chief executive officer (general manager), with a selection panel consisting of the mayor, deputy mayor, two councillors and one independent community member.
This was challenged by Councillor Mitchell Pakes.
He nominated the same company which had already been engaged, and he subsequently nominated the members of the panel, including himself, while excluding an independent community member.
I don't attend every meeting. However, of those I have, every mayoral minute has been defeated on the interference of Cr Pakes.
This continual white-anting in the chamber means that the council is unable to function adequately to represent community needs.
Instead, the council is controlled, and is totally hamstrung, by the apparent 'caucusing' of the Shoalhaven Independent Group, because they have the numbers.
Can someone please explain to me how councillors can be 'independent' when they were elected as a group?
J. Crabb, North Nowra
Costly cuts to red tape
The governments, NSW and federal, are all for cutting red tape and regulation with the end result everyone, including companies, can make their own rules and do what they like.
For instance, government cut red tape on council building inspections and today we have high-rise and housing "self-destructing" with the owners, not developers or governments, footing the bill for remedial modifications.
The cutting of red tape, deregulation and outright privatisation of electricity, ports, airports, telephone networks, metropolitan water, hospitals, aged care, disabilities, to mention a few, sees the private sector, bursting at the seams, setting the once passive stock exchange on fire, pumped up, with the steady flow of taxpayers' dollars.
Meanwhile deprived pensioners and those on fixed incomes capitulate under the burden of debt, surrender their homes, under consignment of reverse mortgages, to the government at interest rates of 5.25 per cent.