Mayoral candidate, Tony Judge (above) and the Labor Council Team have slammed the lack of accountability of senior managers in Coffs Harbour City Council over waste management and other important issues.
Mr Judge says “The recent refusal by senior Council managers to issue a full explanation of their efforts to solve the Coffs Harbour waste crisis shows an extraordinary lack of respect for Councillors and a total disregard for accountability. The request by Councillors for a full explanation of negotiations between Council managers and the waste services company, Biomass Solutions, was both reasonable and responsible. Senior Council staff should have been able to provide such a report almost immediately. Instead, they decided it was all too hard and effectively refused. I would have been alarmed even if this were a single incident, but it seems this is par for the course. There is a culture of secrecy, a reluctance to communicate with Councillors and a general sense that Managers, not Councillors know best.”
“This is not how a representative democracy should work. We elect Councillors to represent our interests, decide on Council policies and ensure that there is effective administration. We hold them accountable for Council’s performance. For that to work effectively, Councillors must be able to hold the senior managers to account. When a manager refuses to provide critical information, it leaves Councillors in a position where they have all the responsibility but no control. The end result is that ratepayers lose confidence in the Council as a whole.”
Mr Judge said that his criticism was not levelled and the Council staff who provide day to day services to ratepayers. “I think that the Council workers who look after our community do a good job. The people who work on roads, look after our parks and run community events do their best and engage positively with our community. However, they are being let down by a few people in senior positions who do not seem to think that they are accountable to us, the ratepayers of Coffs Harbour. That’s not fair to the reputations of those Council workers and it’s not fair to the community.”
Mr Judge pledged that, if elected he would work hard to make Council more accountable and its operations more transparent to ratepayers.
“It’s only fair that those of us who pay the cost of running Council should know what is going on. This secrecy and lack of accountability must end. We pay the bills, so we deserve to know how our money is being spent.”
The above is a media release from the Coffs Harbour Labor team for Council.
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