Politics

Minister stands down Armidale Council and appoints interim Administrator

The Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock has issued Armidale Regional Council with a notice of intention to suspend it for three months and appoint an interim administrator.

Shelly hancock – Minster of Local Government

It follows serious concerns about the council’s ability to function properly and effectively following a breakdown of relationships between councillors and key council officers and significant reputational, legal and work, health and safety risks.

The move comes one week after Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall requested the urgent intervention of the Minister to resolve what he described as significant issues of dysfunction within the leadership of Armidale Regional Council.

Under the Local Government Act, the Minister is required to provide the council with the opportunity to make any submission before making a final determination on suspension.

The council now has fourteen days to make a submission as to why it should not be suspended and an independent administrator appointed for three months. By law, the Minister must consider any submission before making a final decision.

Suspension would apply to the mayor and councillors. It would not affect council staff and daily operations. The interim administrator would perform the functions of the mayor and councillors.

The above is from The Guyra Gazette’s Facebook Page – Tuesday 19 may 2020.

7 Comments

  1. Ann Leonard

    So the Minister can weigh in after all. Good to know.

  2. John Cleese

    God love us ,another council bites the dust. When are we going to face facts and realise councils are an anachronism.They belong in the Cobb and Co days with Henry Lawson poetry (no criticism intended).
    How many councils in Australia have had administers appointed? Whilst our amazing council bickers over the CCC and refuses to listen to ratepayers. We need qualified paid consultants to make planning decisions,who are hopefully impartial. The whole Councillor process is flawed and open to abuse.
    Have there been any comments from the Councillors or our Mayor (the one who ticked all the boxes) on Coffs Harbour achieving the highest job loss rate in Australia 11.2% last month, due to Covid 19?

  3. Please, let this be a dress rehearsal for action against Knight’s Mob.

  4. Copy of today’s email to Shelley Hancock:
    “Given the patently dysfunctional nature of Coffs Council, and its headlong rush into potential financial lunacy, against the wishes of many, if not most of its ratepayers, please repeat the management process which you have implemented with Armidale Council, thereby relieving us of the tyranny of Denise Knight and her minute group of supporters.”

  5. Rob Steurmann

    The following is from the OLG data base.

    Armidale has 11 councilors (CHCC currently 8, but normally 9).

    The annual average residential rate is $898 (CHCC is around $2,600 p.a. as per last rates notice).

    Armidale area’s unemployment 6.6% (pre Covid 19 – CHCC area around 12%, youth unemployment near highest in Australia)

    Armidale’s Socio-economic index score is 87 (Coffs Harbour City’s advantage/disadvantage score =29)

    Armidale’s General Manager gets $315,000 (CHCC is about $60,000 p.a. more); and

    Armidale ratepayers pay $102.18 per capita for admin costs (CHCC is about $580 per capita)

    In other words the Armidale Regional Council operates better than we do. Even more fuel for the “get an Administrator in here ASAP too” fire?

  6. 40cmPedestalFan

    Youse of got no respect.

    We got a princess with a tiara, what sings “dancing queen” in her head so loud like it’s coming out her ears, swishing past you and around you in case you need a hug, then we got the best cheer you ever seen, what can lead the cheer while also doing star jumps, now that’s inspiring, plus, two of the best joke tellers you ever of heard, like, cracking jokes with them funny things, you know, them sense of humours and stuff, alls they ever do, actually (you can tell a lot about someone by they’s sense of humour), another what never touched a drop in the whole time of there’s life, and like, that’s just startin.

  7. A copy of the reply from the Minister’s office, to my latest email:

    “Dear Mr May

    Thank you for your correspondence of 28 April 2020, to the Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Shelley Hancock MP, regarding Coffs Harbour City Council’s Cultural and Civic Space project (CCS project). The Minister has requested that the Office of Local Government respond on her behalf.

    The Government recognises that there are a range of views in the local community on the merits of the CCS project. While the project may not enjoy universal support from all members of the local community, the decision to proceed with the project is one that rests with the Council in its discretion.

    However, it is the Government’s view that all councils need to be careful in how they use ratepayers’ money, particularly at a time when they are under financial pressure and facing significant challenges in maintaining delivery of community infrastructure and services because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Ultimately, the Council will be accountable to its community for its decision to proceed with the CCS project. The community will have an opportunity to demonstrate its support or dissatisfaction with the Council’s decision when voting at the next council election.

    Yours sincerely

    Lindsay Ewens

    Acting Leader, Client Services ”

    and a copy of my reply to his reply:

    “Dear Mr Ewens

    Many thanks for your timely reply on behalf of the Minister. Whilst I can understand the government’s view with regard to the behaviour of our council, I cannot agree that inaction by the Minister is an appropriate response for our peculiar circumstances. It is true that disaffected ratepayers will have the chance to express their dissatisfaction at the next council election, but it is equally true that, with the next election now more than a year away, our present, aggressively undemocratic council, will have more than enough time to do immense damage before it can be removed by voters. It is no exaggeration to suggest that our situation is critical. An unwanted expenditure of around $100 000 000 may well cripple this community financially, for years to come. I ask again for the Minister’s intervention on our behalf.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Julian May”

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