Councillor ‘thought CCS loan would come from TCorp’. And other Council related news

Councillors lead to believe CCS loan would come from TCorp. Claims TCorp told Council they had “risk issues.” Were six Councillors referred to the OLG over the walkout? If so why were only four penalised?

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Yesterday we published a story rebutting a claim by the Coffs Harbour City Council (CHCC) via their Heart of Coffs Facebook site that they had never wanted a TCorp loan and that Westpac had not rejected the for a loan.

By The Editor

That story can be read here; https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/we-never-wanted-a-tcorp-loan-and-westpac-didnt-reject-us-council-really-we-respond/

As can be seen in that story we reproduced an article we published on 14 February this year citing a response to questions from Cr Sally Townley about the loan. The key one fro our point of view was this response;

Q3 Council has been offered loan by T Corp less than 2% with rate fixed for 20 years (a 30 year loan). Or can seek from bank. Current loan liabilities are around $8M per year costs (interest). As Council pays down its current loan liabilities (around $230M), loan costs will reduce from these other major loans (finished sometime after 2030 I think?).

The 19 February CCO article proceeded to feature in a discussion among some 200 responses to Council’s claim on the Heart of Coffs Facebook site.

Questions asked by ‘Together We’ll Fix It’ (TWFI) team candidate Nikki Williams (second right in the photo below these screenshots) and were ‘linked’ to Cr Townley so she could see them via her own Facebook feed.

Cr Townley responded as follows, and as reproduced directly, as screen shots, from the Heart of Coffs Facebook site;

As can be seen Cr Townley makes it explicitly clear that Councillors were told several times finance would come from TCorp and that it would be at less than 2 per cent. She also says she publicly stated this.

She also laments the way Council went about, speed-wise at least, in dealing with TCorp.

The only people, one presumes, who could have told Councillors this information is senior Council Management. Which rather puts the statement on Heart of Coffs deeply into questionable territory.

More Info on the loans

As Council meets tonight to decide whether to approve what is essentially now a third loan application for the already under contsruction CCS, this time with the CBA, explosive claims as to why TCorp would not ave loaned monies to the CHCC have surfaced.

TWFI Mayoral candidate, Rodger Pryce, (pictured above with three of the four other TWFI candidates) yesterday posted on his Facebook site that; “TCorp told our Council that for them to consider a 30 year loan, our Council needed to reduce the risk of the cash investments that Council are holding, by moving investments out of BBB and unrated entities to get the total amount to below 40%.

In summary: Our Council have over 40% of our cash invested with facilities which, TCorp, being the NSW Treasury, consider to be too higher risk for them to grant us a 30 year loan. And that is why we are not borrowing over $50 million from the provider of the lowest rate of interest available.

For our Council to say, on their Facebook page, that they were not knocked back by TCorp because they never applied for a 30 year loan, is a disgrace.

WE NEVER APPLIED FOR A 30 YEAR TCORP LOAN BECAUSE WE HAD ALREADY BEEN TOLD WE WERE TOO HIGH A RISK.”

(Reproduced by CCO as presented on the Facebook page).

If correct, his would be another reason for TCorp not to loan as suggested to Cr Townley and others in addition to the statement made by Minister Hancock in 2020 that the CCS did not comply because it included Council administration offices.

The question arises then; “Did Council staff know of the above if/when they told Councillors TCorp would loan for the CCS?’

If the answer to that is ‘yes’ then it is a very serious matter indeed! And were they being 100% accurate in the following document given to Councillors under agenda item BS 21/41?

How many Councillors were referred to the OLG for the walkout?

You may have seen a comment and question made by me under yesterday’s story on the loans. If not I reproduce it here;

“Our four Councillors, Amos, Rhodes, Swan and Arkan, responded to the people’s will to challenge the inclusion of Chambers in our Cultural Precinct. This issue has enraged most of our citizens for two years, a petition bearing 15,000 signatures, over 800 written objections to the development and hundreds of letters to the Minister of Local Government. For their loyal service, all four Councillors were reprimanded and fined. Unbelievable!
Can someone throw light on an equally important issue that has been brought to the attention of Coffs Coast Outlook?
Is it true that six Councillors were reprimanded for breaches of conduct relating to this event? If so, Ms Fishburn should make *full disclosure* of her findings and name the other two Councillors.”

We understand we may hear more about this today. If our information is correct it is potentially explosive.

What have the penalised four Councillors got to say?

The ABC yesterday published a very worthwhile story on the reactions of Councillors who were penalised by the OLG.

In summary;

Key points:

  • Four Councillors have had their payments suspended for two months after ditching meetings
  • They were found to be in breach of the code of conduct
  • One Councillor said he refused to attend to protest against a $76m development
  • Cr Swan says she is questioning whether local government is the place for her.

Read the full ABC story here;

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-25/coffs-councillors-breach-code/100405372

16 thoughts on “Councillor ‘thought CCS loan would come from TCorp’. And other Council related news

  1. Our Councillors were advised by the Director of Business Services in the CONFIDENTIAL REPORT above, that TCorp..”are unable to offer a borrowing over a thirty year term”. Nothing More!

    Compare this with Rodger’s disclosure quoted again below and recognise how compromised our Councillors may become when acting on this watered down reporting which denied them TCorp’s full commentary which warned of investment risks. Transparency is non existent when hidden under the guise of “Commercial in Confidence”.

    Quote: “TCorp told our Council that for them to consider a 30 year loan, our Council needed to reduce the risk of the cash investments that Council are holding, by moving investments out of BBB and unrated entities to get the total amount to below 40%.

    1. Interestingly though, anything produced by From the Rodger Pryce team has come from councils own website and minutes. Each councillor had every opportunity to do the exact same research

  2. I was at the council meeting when this was discussed. The terms of the Tcorp loan did not line up with council’s plans and the thirty year fixed interest loan from the Commonwealth Bank was a much better fit. No suspicious dealings.

    1. Actually Margaret I too was at a meeting at which finance going to be coming from TCorp was first mentioned and it was wayyy before any mention of the CBA, or other banks for that matter.

      It was stated that there was finance for less than 2% fixed interest rate for 20 years of a thirty year loan. Which we now know was bending the way words were put together to tell porkies that washed. At the time.

      Between the time of TCorp telling the executive that they wouldn’t lend to CHCC over thirty years (which by the sound of things could have even been BEFORE that first Council meeting where TCorp was mentioned) and considering the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (the CBA) was the approach to Westpac to apply for the EOI from Westpac to lend to CHCC over 30 years.

      Problem with that, as may well be the case yet with the CBA too, is that such EOIs are NOT in response to a loan application but are in response to what amounts to a tender call (for Expressions of Interest).

      Banks don’t lend $50mill on anything other than full assessment of full and complete loan applications.

      Last meeting the executive made it sound like all they had to do to secure finance from the CBA was to get Council to vote to accept the so called offer to lend to us from the CBA. And that was presented as having to be drawn down by the following Wednesday …. last Wednesday the 1st of September. Left to sound like that was a CBA stipulation. Actually one suspects it my have been a council executive need, due to payment deadlines with Lipman!

      I understand that no such draw down happened by then. And may never happen with the CBA. We shall see.

    2. Have you actually read any of what is printed above?

      Townley explicitly states that she was told “several times” that funding via T Corp at sub-2% would be forthcoming. “Heart of Coffs”, council’s propaganda machine, stated that T Corp funding was never under consideration. Is this not evidence of lying? Who is lying? Would lying not qualify as “suspicious dealings”?

      “The terms of the Tcorp loan did not line up with council’s plans. . .”

      Picking out the bits of truth which are convenient, in that they support your ‘wrong’ view, is not finding “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, so help me!

  3. Councillors were led to believe that the TCorp loan would be forthcoming — a done deal, a formality. Managements’ presentation is all on record. Further, councillors were told straight-out that the TCorp terms would be better than the commercial lenders; that management would seek terms from the commercial majors really only for the purpose of “going through the motions of funding” correctly. The impression given on the latter was that management was competent, comprehensive, and more importantly: doing the right thing; this impression embellished the initial impression that funding was all taken care of as led to believe.

    But the critical point, which should be included in a referral to the ICAC for investigating, is the “manner” or “gist” provided by management in that meeting to which a reasonable person would respond by believing and entrusting what management told councillors, is the timing of when it was said. This was a meeting whereupon a “yes” vote would progress the project; a meeting focused on whether the project had or didn’t have funding, would or wouldn’t get funding.

    So what happened is that councillors were led to believe that there certainly was funding, it was from TCorp, and the project should progress.

    As events transpired in the shorter fullness of time, we find that no such funding or indeed certainty existed, so the question is: at the time did it ever exist?

    Now compare what councillors and public were led to believe with what later transpired, should management in that critical funding meeting presented information as they later did so. Councillors and listening public would have had a far weaker belief, perhaps no belief, that funding was a formality and no problem. The vote of ‘yes’ could have been jeopardised. That would have meant time delays, which we know are costly because management had signed the builder’s contract, and time delays which meant further questioning and examination of funding, again, jeopardising the project.

    Because management has tried to recast what happened in that meeting, and subsequent funding attempts, a reasonable person could conclude that councillors in that meeting were purposely mislead. That a strategy of “framing the funding debate” by management would lead councillors to progress the project, on the basis of ‘it’s funded’, at that time. Achieving the yes vote then secured a very strong psychological advantage for the project (at the time), leaving councillors and public with the impression, belief, that the project not “would be” but “is” funded.

    This psychological advantage, or frame of mind of councillor and public, meant that weaker, costlier, less advantageous, and otherwise, funding options could be more easily swallowed and accepted by councillors in subsequent meetings. Councillors were more likely to vote yes on the lesser deal due to already having voted yes on the prior deal — they were led farther down the track, as it were.

    Was that ‘frame of mind’ manufactured by management on purpose? Many — of reasonable mind — thinks so.

    But here’s the thing. This is undeniable and undebatable. That such an uncertainty exists, that the question of manufactured belief — leading councillors and public to believe something will happen when it later doesn’t — is of itself illustrative of bad management.

    Accomplished managers do not do that. They would be aware of the problems such a vague, uncertain (at best) presentation would create, and would not present in that manner. They would have no need to later ‘clarify’.

    Management had a position at the time, according to them, later, that did seek to change or “clarify” what was the factual situation at that time. So if anyone supports council managements’ position on this, including councillors, this question has to be answered persuasively, in such a way that the above ‘misleading on purpose’ appraisal is taken out of play:

    Why didn’t management simply tell the councillors and the public, in that earlier critical funding meeting, the later-stated situation as they gave when attempting to ‘clarify’?

    ————————-
    While here, further thoughts. Did TCorp change their position on funding due to any developments within State Govt due to not-as-yet-public internal concerns, with possible soon to be ramifications and changes, because of covid and its variants? The same, pending, regarding the DA (not likely, this one, but included nevertheless). And Westpac? And did Westpac Head Office get wind of the local hatred of the project? And does all of the above apply to CBA?

    Are there changes in the wind, at the top levels of lenders and in the NSW Govt, relating to funding major public projects due to covid? Will all new public buildings need to be altered to make them more safely visitable, more likely to fulfill their public purpose and not be shutdown? Are they putting pauses until the situation is clearer?

    And what idiots would seek funding for public buildings without making changes at their planning stage, when on plans they could, anyway? Those who had already signed a construction contract and started building it, unfunded, perhaps? Those who, personally, cannot lose?

    1. At risk of further confusing people, but hopeful this might help if expressing it this way:

      At the earlier critical meeting, management instilled the belief that cheap TCorp funding was a given. So councillors voted yes to progress the project.

      By progressing the project, management bought themselves more time to attempt to fund it.

      Then, after further publicly-known funding attempts, management provided new borrowing terms.

      If management had not instilled that earlier belief, the project may not have progressed, which would have denied management the opportunity to try to fund it. The project would at least have been delayed, which would have jeopardised the project definitely in penalties costs, and the project may possibly have ceased.

      By instilling the earlier belief, and the project progressing because of that belief, further funding attempts by management were made possible. So two things could have happened at this point. Either management knew the TCorp loan was not an option, which meant management was relying on their careful wording so as to create a belief and not be held to the word of it. Or, management did believe the TCorp loan was a given. If the project was going to cease, this was a critical point at which it would. Either way, management had progressed the project and bought more time, by creating that earlier belief.

      Was the bloc of four ever going to vote against progressing the project? Probably not, but management couldn’t take the risk that one may turn, or may waver, causing those certain delays and possible cessation.

      Another result of creating that TCorp certainty in the earlier critical funding meeting? Getting further down the track meant yet higher risk of penalties (if indeed these haven’t been paid already), and councillors further having to approve any loan that wasn’t obviously beyond payable terms.

      It appears clearly now as a tie-them-to-progression strategy by management.

      This conflicts with good managerial procedure in my view, which is to be clear and open so councillors are wholly informed and it is they, councillors, who make the decision based on that informed situation and its known risks, and given the occasion to personally assess those risks independently. Instead, management decided upon the risks and presented according to their, managements’, decision, in a situation known clearly only to them (evident by current uncertainty and confusion, and a later public statement by a councillor).

      One councillor, in the end, farther down the track, did exactly as management appeared to have hoped. Clr Swan said, regarding the latest funding attempt, no doubt referring to the bills and penalties threats, “We need it.”

      This tie-them-to-progression is a theme of this project, clearly evident when a construction contract, incomplete, full of penalties, was signed. The entire funding procedure, from the start, falls in with this strategy and has all the bearings in my opinion of a confidence trick, rather than the transparent and un-confusing work of an accomplished and experienced management.

      The fact council management later tried to ‘clarify’ the earlier critical funding meeting, and subsequent loan attempts, proves two things.

      Firstly, they were either complicit in creating a false belief, or, they were not then clear or forthright or wholly complete in what they presented so as to cause uncertainty. We have to remember, during this time, that the public, us, and then later a councillor, Arkan, had to ask about the TCorp loan situation — management had not of their own accord provided any update.

      Secondly, as stated above, and something every one of the eight councillors should take onboard and guide them in any further decisions regarding the project, is that a management outfit having to provide a ‘clarification’ about both a) their actual utterings, decisions, briefings, recommendations etc regarding a project and its funding in particular, and b) the states of any loans due to a) — is unquestionably bad management.

      Management has no ‘out’ on this in my view. If there’s confusion, they caused it. And, at best, if that’s all they’ve done, on a matter of $50 million of public funding, paid for by the ratepayer, it’s bad enough to bring against their actions and expressions, explicit and implicit or implied, the measure of the laws by which they must operate. If they have caused more than confusion and instead potentially purposely misled councillors and the public they would in my opinion have a very serious case to answer.

      A welcome attempt as it is, this project requires more questioning than what Clr Amos has asked for the next meeting. If not capable of getting into what’s outlayed above, then how about a complete public exposé of where the project funding is currently at?

      What’s preposterous about that? It actually should be very simple.

  4. One of the Big Four banks is currently running a TV advertisement to spend five minutes to gain pre-approval of your loan before entering a contract. It appears to be aimed at working folk who may need business advice- what a good idea! But sadly, this simple procedure was beyond the skill set of our Council Executive! What a debacle!
    Is it true that the FIXED interest rate of 2.54% agreed and minuted at the last Council Meeting, has now increased to 2.62%? If that is the case the approval has been exceeded, and surely becomes a new resolution to approve the new interest rate? Again if this is the case, what necessitated this O.08% increase. Can someone clarify if the 2.54% was only for 20 years (not 30 years as the minutes’ record) and the increase was the cost of moving it out to a 30 years term? Anyone?

  5. 40c has provided an extensive and entirely believable scenario as he/she outlines his/her suspicions about the T Corp funding situation.

    Without making such a comprehensive assessment, I have been able to determine that somebody, somewhere in all probability lied. 40c has, in my humble opinion, made a compelling and entirely credible case for the liar, or liars, to be found amongst the ranks of council management.

    If I were the current Mayor of Coffs Harbour, and had been deceived in such a fashion by council management, I’d raise the roof finding out who had lied and ensure that appropriate consequences were applied. Wouldn’t you?. Then again, if I were happy to be lied to, because it gave me an excuse to push ahead with my scheme to create a monument to my greatness, perhaps it’s probably best I just keep quiet?

  6. If I can get more time I’ll try to go through this all to find the relevent, exact wording given by managment, however, CCO is due to bid us rightful leave of absence for several months so the considerate thing to do is let rest and recuperation remain free of council rubbish; my commentary must be fewer and shorter. For now, a little bit is below.

    Firstly, to expand on Clr Arkan’s request of management seeking information on the status of the TCorp loan. Let’s recall that period. The premise of our concerns currently is that management misled councillors and the public by instilling the belief that the TCorp loan was a given. Cr Townley has publicly stated she too thought that to be the case. As a community, it’s fair to say, we expected that loan to come. So, we waited … and waited.

    And waited. Nothing. No word. Remember CCO’s own comment after this long wait: management “would be shouting it from the rooftops” if the TCorp loan had been approved by now. Still the loan had not arrived. An article was published on CCO with a prominent question: Where is the TCorp loan? Was a watered-down version of this question also published in ‘The Advocate’? I can’t recall precisely, however, the general public expectation that the TCorp loan we were all led to believe was coming as yet had not materialised and it should have “by now” and this was reflected in published commentary by that organisation.

    Thus, the concern the TCorp loan had not yet come and should have as expected was — widely — extant. Why is is it important to stress this point? Because at this very time Council Management made no public comment by way of correction. They did not issue a ‘clarification’ when, if their later clarification is to have any weight or meaning, this would have been the time to issue that clarification. Nothing. Silence.

    So by now the concerns for the TCorp loan are strongly in the air. We come to Cr Arkan. In a meeting, he asked the question. “What is the status of the TCorp loan?”

    Consider, now, why he would ask that specific question. He did not ask a general question. He asked specifically about TCorp. He, too, we can safely presume was led to believe it was coming, and concerned it had not.

    Now consider management’s response, on which we commented strongly here. Management did not answer the question. They dodged it. They weakly waffled about process. No clarification, again, came from management. This, let’s be clear, is yet again another time such a clarification could and should have been made, if not long before.

    Now say the situation with Council Management and TCorp doesn’t stink.

    Something went wrong with TCorp, didn’t it? Something not publicly clarified.

    So here’s the actual statements by managemet, so far. Not much, but it’s at least it’s a starting point. There’s a lot go through to find this, so apologies this is all it is. The main documentary statements lie in what management said in that earlier meeting to so “mislead” the councillors and public, which as I understand it we need permission to transcribe and reproduce. How long it stays on Council’s own public record will be interesting, as historical recordings are hard to find and may not exist.

    Copy-pasted from the meeting of 12th November, 2020, Page 109, under the heading “Consultation”:

    Consultation has been undertaken throughout the organisation and with TCorp regarding
    borrowing rates.

    And above that this statement by management:

    The Council should be consistent in the information it provides to the community in regards to its costing for projects so that the community is able to rely on the consistency of the comparability of the information it is being provided.

    https://infocouncil.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/Open/2020/11/CO_20201112_AGN_2225_AT.PDF

    Two quick comments regarding those. On the first statement, why would management say they are talking with TCorp if they are not seeking to loan from them? On the second proclamation, what an atrocious statement. Utterly meaningless. There is no such meaningful thing as being “consistent of the comparability”. A forensic assessment of that wording throws up so many variants that must be applied that it is thereby rendered shitspeak. Sorry, but that’s it. Slippery as you can get. Funny how management cannot give a straight statement about its own accountability. By all means, however, accept the spirit of the sentence to profer assurance and strength of procedural operation and by all means decide management failed.

    On a final matter, having a look through what management provided to councillors when voting to approve the Lipman contract, the risks stated are largely to do with there “being” a likelihood that a building contract would be more costly unless they approve this now, and that local tradies will suffer if it’s not approved now. Take that as you like. The point that really needs to be made and remembered is that at no place in the document has management included any risks incurred by approving a document without having the money in the bank to pay for it.

    https://infocouncil.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/Open/2021/02/CO_20210225_AGN_2236_AT_WEB.htm

    CCO Editor: I will be back and forth on the site over the next three months as things allow me to do. Some days will be far more prolific than others might be an easier way to put it. 😉

  7. In consideration of local tradespeople, does anyone have any idea how much of the wage bill on CCS is paid to local contractors and how much goes out of town? It would seem fair to ensure that consider our local tradies and suppliers when investing so heavily. After all, they will be paying for this edifice for the next thirty years!

  8. To put the concern by way of opinion wholly and succinctly:

    “That council management instilled within the community and the governing body the assurity or at least the belief that the cheap TCorp loan would come. That management instilled this assurity to progress the project. While other motions were being put and voted in approval for the project, covering a period when the community grew increasingly concerned that the TCorp loan hadn’t come, that council management maintained its silence on the status of the TCorp loan so as to maintain the belief that the TCorp loan was coming and therefore the project was relatively cheaply and securely funded and thereby obtain those votes progressing the project. That council management purposely did not clarify the TCorp loan situation during this time so as to maintain this belief. That council management purposely did not answer the question by Cr Arkan so as to maintain this belief. That council management benefited by maintaining this belief so as to progress the project farther down the track allowing then for smoother approval of any subsequent loan terms by other lenders, having already voted on motions for the project, including also that Lipman contract penalties would mount during the period adding an imperative that the governing body vote for a loan other than TCorp. When the public smelled a rat, due to subsequent loan motions put to councillors and therefore the situation more clear publicly, did council management only then attempt to clarify its situation with TCorp. That all of this in thrust, characterisation and spirit amounts to misleading councillors and the public so as to progress the project.”

    Everything in the above quotation marks is an opinion.

    If we don’t have a councillor to pursue this, perhaps a lawyer or candidate can take it on. There’s plenty to look into, as well, by way of lawful obtainment, going back to the start. Best wishes indeed to CCO, and to all. Shall pop into comments from time to time. Please by all means add to it or correct the above.

    1. A succinct, and, I suspect, scarily accurate summation of what may have happened. I believe that there would be value in forwarding a copy of your opinion to “S.Hancock, Monster for Local Misgovernment”, so that she may be apprised of community suspicions and then choose to ignore them.

      1. ’tis the joys and wonders, and mongrelness, of slippery wording, Julian. Adjust content (in this case by making it strong or shocking), place that in the context (in this case the care not to be defamative, that is, to be good and lawful) that casts inflection upon the wording and the result is that it appears as my opinion.

        That opinion could be anyone’s. Yet you are entirely right to ascribe it to me. Being a person with standards respecting decency and fair play, and engaging in the world by them, that is a natural and decent accreditation. The point is, this is precisely what happens to councillors.

        Were the content of “remarkable benefit”, put together by consultants fulfilling a brief in order for you to so believe, yet wasn’t, and the context of wishing to do well for the community, under time pressure, with a forklift road of documents given to read, all of it purposely crafted, four councillors would vote for it. And believe it. And say they know better for it. (And only because of it.)

        A weak example above, admittedly. It could be done much better. To a lesser extent it appears, also, as a single opinion. There are others. The whole procession of events outlayed in this thread could result in the opinion that council management was negligent, or derelict. Or not “community” minded or sensitive to “community”. Or didn’t care for “community”, as much as it cared for something else. Or was simply too busy, too overloaded, with problems swamping their desks and minds. Or was somewhere between: the TCorp loan fell through, the belief was in place, why not just let it be, until the new terms, more expensive and made imperative by threat of penalties due to time lost, were tabled, and be advantaged by that?

        Doubtless the culture of slipperiness existing in council executive, allowing for the executive to remain lawful, won’t be caught out by wording. Yet the “spirit” and “thrust” and “characterisation” of their proferrings to the governing body and the community they serve is, I think, voraciously questionable — and vulnerable to law.

        A governing body, and a community, is wholly right to expect to trust in the thrust, spirit and characterisation of what is said and given. And not to be misled. And if misleading has taken place, inadvertently, to immediately correct it. This LGA doesn’t even have that, the most innocent of falseness.

        In any case, have a go. Fill in the gaps. You have a starting point, an end point, between which management gave neither the community nor the governing body information or facts. Added to that opacity, that blankness, is that the end point resulted in as I understand it an extra $9 million or thereabouts in interest costs.

        Your starting point from council management is: The cheap TCorp loan paying for this is a mere formality.

        The end point is : We didn’t seek a loan from TCorp.

        Good luck with that. Regarding your referral to Shelly Hancock. Make the concern about a massive $500 and the problem caused by a councillor, then see how it goes.

        Shall we end on a ‘moral of the story’? That if a council management is straightforward and open, in action and language, they’d not have the perceptions cast upon them as they have. They’d be trusted, which they aren’t. And it’s all of their doing.

        Go well.

  9. For your consideration, 40C has laid before you a bare-bones opinion of our confused, ill-informed Council decision-making process. An excellent expression of a widely held sentiment.
    Councillor selections generally focus on the community’s perception of the candidate’s integrity as a responsible citizen when meagre academic qualifications are the norm. Consequently, Councillors then rely heavily on a highly professional executive’s clear, transparent advice, singularly focussed on the welfare of our city and the will of its citizens.
    Our elected Councillors rely heavily on the integrity of the professional opinions of our executive in a synergistic relationship of trust and teamwork. To promote collaboration rather than legal conflict, genuinely seeking community understanding before self-interest, and serving the broader community needs before the aspirations of a few. You may ask, have our Councillors been treated in this respectful manner?
    In my opinion, sanity has not prevailed as this project has careened out of control on the preposterous notion of a Mayoral casting vote. Our Councillors have grappled with insoluble problems while receiving incomplete and arguably misleading information during crucial decision-making. The issue has never been Cultural. It is that ‘Civic Space’ called Council Chambers.
    The absolute tragedy of the CCS project has been its ESCALATION AT ANY COST! How could new Council Chambers become the all-consuming priority while the health and welfare of our city fell into such disrepair? As decreed by the Minister for Local Government, this is our responsibility to address on December 4.

  10. I charge our incoming mayor and Councillors with the task of ensuring that management of the community is done in accordance with the “true wishes” of the community, and for the benefit of the “whole community”. In an effort to ensure that the current debacle is never replayed, I suggest that our new governors need to forensically investigate the history of the debacle, to reveal the source of any provable corruption, to remove any who have deliberately behaved corruptly, and to make public the remedies put in place, with due respect paid to the laws of defamation.

    The more we discover about the behaviours of Knight, her cohort, and some council executive, the more it becomes apparent in my view that heads should be rolling on the floor of council chambers before long. As for the outgoing Councillors, we should take with a half kilo of salt, any claims that they were victims of executive deception or manipulation. These are all “intelligent” people who should have bee able to detect bullshit and counteract its effects. Any failure to do so would seem to imply wilful or blissful ignorance of the process in which they were involved. Failed guardianship, I believe, has victimised us all.

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