Councillors’ commitment questioned

The commitment of Cobar Shire’s councillors has been brought into question following the cancellation of last week’s Ordinary Council Meeting.

With only four councillors available to attend last Thursday’s October Ordinary Meeting, the meeting had to be adjourned.

The required quorum (the minimum number of councillors that must be present) is seven.

Cobar Shire Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko said after giving notice of the adjournment he was disappointed that some residents had taken to social media to voice their displeasure.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened and yes it doesn’t look good,” Mr Vlatko said.

He said councillors however did not deserve to be condemned for it.

Mr Vlatko said while councillors are not required to give reasons for their apologies for not attending meetings, two of the absences for last week’s meeting were for ill health while another councillor had delayed travel plans and would not make it back to town in time for the meeting.

Mr Vlatko said having already had three previous notified apologies for the meeting and, with the recent resignation of two councillors, he had no option but to adjourn the meeting.

“You can’t have a meeting with just four councillors,” Mr Vlatko said.

Trevor Barrett was one resident who took to social media posting that he was disappointed the meeting did not go ahead as “debates about the drought were to be discussed”.

Brenda Fugar also voiced comments via social media saying that Cobar needs councillors who really care about the town.

“It is a shame that our community needs are not a priority!

“Without dedicated engagement and proactive consultation our town will never thrive—we have so much potential!,” Mrs Fugar said.

The attendance of the majority of councillors is high at monthly council meetings according to Cobar Shire Council’s annual report July 2019 to June 2019.

Crs Julie Payne and Bob Sinclair attended all 12 meetings for the year; Deputy Mayor Peter Abbott and Crs Harley Toomey and Peter Maxwell only missed one meeting; Crs Janine Lea-Barrett and Jarrod Marsden attended 10 meetings; Crs Tracey Kings and Chris Lehmann (9); Mayor Lilliane Brady (8); new councillor Kate Winders attended all six meetings after being elected to council in December 2018; while Cr Peter Yench has the worst  attendance record of all the councillors, having only attended three council meetings in the 12 month period