Tempers flare as councillors consider cutting numbers

A motion to reduce the number of councillors elected to Cobar Shire Council has caused tempers to flare at last Thursday’s April Ordinary Meeting of council.

Cr Yench had put forward a notice of motion calling for a report on the process to reduce the number of councillors from 12 to five.

However during debate on the matter tempers flared resulting in Cr Yench calling for a “no confidence motion” in Mayor Lilliane Brady.

Speaking for his motion, Cr Yench said he believed council needed “vibrant” new people with good ideas.

“The last three elections we’ve had people get voted in with a low number of votes.

“A lot have no qualifications, I’ve got none myself,” he admitted.

“They should have to pass a qualification test before they can stand.

“I’ve been a councillor for 36 years and I’ve made a few mistakes,” Cr Yench said.

Cr Jarrod Marsden also put forward an amendment suggesting councillor numbers be reduced to only nine.

However neither the original motion or amendment were able to gain enough votes from councillors, and both were lost.

“We put it to the community and they said they wanted 12,” Mayor Brady said.

During debate on the matter, a frustrated Cr Yench called for the no confidence motion after he believed that he had not been given the opportunity to put forward his argument.

Cr Yench spoke about the RFS shed, the former general manager and the immediate past council prompting Cr Tracey Kings to call for a point of order, saying that she did not believe Cr Yench was speaking to the motion (which she had seconded).

Mayor Brady agreed and warned Cr Yench to stick to topic.

Cr Yench then pointed the blame at the past council for not doing their research before a new RFS shed was built, with council recently identifying a number of issues with the build.

Mayor Brady advised Cr Yench on a number of occasions that he was out of order and not speaking to the motion, prompting him to call for a no confidence motion.

Mayor Brady immediately called for a seconder to the motion, however council’s general manager Peter Vlatko paused the meeting for a short period so that he could check council’s Local Government meeting procedures manual as to how to proceed on the matter.

Cr Yench offered to withdraw his no confidence motion however Mayor Brady refused to accept the withdrawal, saying she wanted the matter to proceed.

“This has been brewing for about 20 years, bring it on!” Mayor Brady said.

Cr Peter Maxwell seconded the motion of no confidence to allow it to go to a vote, however it was defeated after receiving no votes.

Cr Yench then continued speak about the actions of the past council and was again called on a point of order by Cr Bob Sinclair.

Cr Yench was also chastised for interrupting and speaking over other councillors.

Cr Jarrod Marsden then called for an amendment to the motion, with council numbers be reduced from 12 to nine.

The amendment was lost.