The NSW Government says “Regional Joint Organisations will change the way that local councils and State Government work together on regional planning and help to provide better services and infrastructure for regional communities through sharing resources, lowering costs and reducing red tape.”
By the Acting Editor.
Last week a series of questions from ‘COB’ was sent in to Outlook relating to the proposed new Mid-North Coast NSW Joint Organisation (MNC-NSW JO) to be made up of the Coffs Harbour City, Bellingen Shire, Clarence Valley, Kempsey Shire, Nambucca Shire and Port Macquarie Hastings Councils. Coffs Harbour have yet to agree to becoming a member of the MNC-NSW JO, one of the last of the above Councils to do so yet.
COB asked the following about what The Coffs Coast Advocate has referred to as ‘Super Councils’;
Q1. Do elected officials discuss and vote on proposals before say the local Mayor takes the decision to the “super” council?
A1. The Fit for the Future document published by the NSW Government is not explicit in this regard but given the issue is not explicitly addressed then it is fair to say the answer seems to be “Yes, this has not been explicitly excluded’.
Q2. Do the General Managers (GMs) decide and take their view to the “super” councils?
A2. The document linked to the hyperlink above states that “General Managers of member councils will advise and contribute to the JO Board”. However they are not voting members of the board.
Q3.Who assumes responsibility for the “domestic” running of the “super” council?
A3. The Fit for the Future document states that “JOs will employ an Executive Officer with appropriate skills under a flexible standard contract. JOs will employ staff under the Local Government (State) Award. Governance of the JO is as follows:
“Mayors of member councils will sit on the JO Board for their term of office. The JO Board will appoint its own Chair. There will be equal voting rights between members and no casting vote for the Chair. Additional councillors may be appointed to the JO Board, provided representation remains equal among councils. General Managers of member councils will advise and contribute to the JO Board . The NSW Government representative will be an associate (non-voting) member. Other organisations—such as county councils and cross-border partners—may be associate (non-voting) members.”
Q4. For what length of time will a local council nominee chair the meeting ie a month, a year etc?
A4 – It seems this is up to each JO to set down in its rules from what I can see. Certainly a look at various NSW Government web sites has not uncovered anything I can find pertaining to this.
Q5. How is the sequence of chairmanship decided?
A5. The same answer as for four above applies here too.
(Part One Ends – Part 2 tomorrow)