Statement from the Mayor: a new approach to council meetings
Published on 03 December 2021
To ensure better decision-making and better outcomes for our community, a new approach to Council meetings will be trialled, starting Tuesday, 7 December.
It is essential Councillors are well informed, so in addition to the existing briefing sessions there will be an additional ‘pre-meeting’ on the Monday before each Council meeting. This will ensure Councillors have enough opportunity to seek clarity and ask any questions of officers to inform their understanding of the item.
During the subsequent Council meeting, Councillors will be unable to question Shire officers unless it relates to new information and there was no reasonable opportunity to ask the question beforehand. In those instances, the CEO and Directors will respond to such questions.
All reports will be taken as read. If moved and seconded, Councillors will begin debate with each Councillor being given the opportunity to put their best case forward within the defined time limits. At the conclusion of debate, there will be a vote.
Councillors will be expected to come to meetings well prepared, having read the reports and informed themselves.
Each Councillor will be given the same amount of time to put their case forward, with the mover given additional time.
Councillors will not be able to use questions to make statements or move into debate, as this unfairly extends the time a Councillor has to make their case.
With these measures in place, I believe Council meetings will be much more structured and efficient, and more accessible to our community.
Debate at Council meetings will be more informed as the ‘pre-meeting’ will allow all Councillors the opportunity to receive answers to their questions 24 hours before the meeting.
Council will get through more business in less time. In the past twelve months, several meetings were cut-off at the 4–5-hour mark unfinished, leading to a number of unscheduled meetings.
Shorter meetings mean it is likely Councillors will be more focused and fresher, making better decisions.
An indirect benefit is a reduction in employee costs due to overtime and time in lieu, making the new process less costly to ratepayers.
I am confident this new approach will lead to better decision making and better outcomes for our community.
This new approach is fully consistent with our Governance Rules, as the presentation of reports and questioning of officers is at the discretion of the Chair.
I look forward to Tuesday’s meeting. It will be held in the main Rosebud Chamber - a first for this Council term!