Thank you Steve and Liz for your in principle support. I …

Comment on Leaked letter casts light on town council pool fiasco by Hal Duell.

Thank you Steve and Liz for your in principle support.
I am drafting a petition to allow this question that I plan to present to the first meeting of the 12th Alice Springs Town Council.
That will be on the 16th of April, and I hope to see you both there.
And a suggestion, Liz, if I may. Don’t ask if such an innovation is allowed under the Local Government Act. Ask if it’s not allowed. No one willingly gives up power, or likes to see it challenged.

Hal Duell Also Commented

Leaked letter casts light on town council pool fiasco
@John
I appreciate your concern about a matter being moved from Confidential into Open by stealth. To clarify my position on this, and hopefully to alleviate your concerns, what follows is a rough draft of a petition I plan to present to the next Town Council.
I have included my reasons at the end.
In every public meeting, and immediately prior to Council adjourning from Open to Confidential, the public in the gallery would be asked if they wished to challenge the placement of any matter listed on the meeting’s agenda for discussion in Confidential.
In the event of a challenge, the Council officer(s) who placed that matter in Confidential would be asked to explain why they did so.
The Councillors would then vote to move the matter into Open, or to keep it in Confidential. The details of the matter being challenged would not be debated until it was determined where that debate was to take place. If the determination was to move it into Open, the debate would then proceed. If the determination was to keep it in Confidential, the meeting would adjourn into Confidential and the public and press would leave the chamber.
I appreciate that this could add to the time needed for an already long meeting.
To make this change easier to support, may I suggest that:
1) The right to challenge would not be used often or lightly.
2 Any change to Council’s fixed agenda that increases the public’s confidence that all business conducted by Council is transparent and accountable is a change for the better.
3 Any change to Council’s fixed agenda that allows for greater public participation in Council’s public meetings is a change for the better.


Leaked letter casts light on town council pool fiasco
Since I first started attending Council meetings eight years ago, one of my perennial requests has been for the public to have the right to challenge confidential.
At public meetings of the Byron Bay Shire Council, just before the meetings adjourn into Confidential the public in the Gallery is asked if anyone wants to challenge whether or not a matter on the agenda could be discussed in Open.
On the day I was there, a matter was challenged. The Council officers argued to keep it in, but the Councillors voted to take it out. The matter was then debated in Open.
Every time I have raised this idea, there has been a mildly hysterical response assuming that I am asking that the public be given the right to determine whether or not a matter is for Open or Confidential.
Not true. At all times the Councillors would be the ones making any determination, but the public would have the right to challenge.
Perhaps if the Alice Springs Town Council adopted this practice, more oversight would be shown by the public resulting in a greater degree of transparency and, hopefully, fewer kerfuffles such as the current one regarding the YMCA and the pool.
The agendas for both Open and Confidential are posted on Council’s website by the close of business on the Friday before all Council’s Monday meetings. So it’s not hard to stay informed.


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