Slammed over council meeting challenge

RULES outlining how council meetings are conducted were challenged at last week’s Cumberland Council meeting during several heated clashes over procedural issues between Mayor Steve Christou and some councillors.

In a bid to end lengthy debates and frequently acrimonious discussions over points of order which have occurred at several meetings, Councillor Lisa Lake called for a briefing with Office Of Local Government staff.
Early in the meeting, Cr Lake challenged Cr Christou about whether his Mayoral Minute – inviting the Government to look at including a Service NSW Centre within a proposed new Council Administration building in Granville – met the “urgent matter” requirements as defined under the council’s Code of Meeting Conduct.
According to the code, “a mayoral minute must not be used to put without notice matters that are routine and not urgent, or matters for which proper notice should be given because of their complexity”, and Cr Lake said they had yet to decide whether to build a new council building.
“That’s a long way off, we haven’t even seen a feasibility study,” she said.
“This is a matter of some complexity and it should be put before us appropriately [within] a business paper.”
Arguing that the issue needed to be resolved quickly, Cr Christou ruled against Cr Lake’s point of order.
Later in the debate he also threatened to “throw out” any councillors who asked questions out of turn, telling them he was “putting the chamber on notice” but was challenged by Cr Ola Hamed on which part of the Code he would use to authorise such an action.
As the meeting wrapped up, Cr Lake asked for a workshop on the Code “to clarify some issues” which Cr Christou asked the general manager to organise.