Cr Becktakento taskon trip
AN angry row erupted between Tweed Shire Councillors on Wednesday over claims that deputy mayor Lynne Beck wasted $500 of ratepayers' money on a trip to Sydney for an art exhibition in July.
Cr Beck several times called on Cr Steve Dale to withdraw his notice of motion which sought an explanation over her trip to the NSW State Library exhibition.
Cr Dale had asked what benefit Tweed ratepayers received from her trip to see the exhibition, part of the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize which was formerly based in the Tweed but was moved to Sydney after a legal battle between council and the Moran family.
Cr Dale claimed the circumstances in which Cr Beck was given approval for the trip were unusual which "at best was sloppy and peculiar and at worst a grave concern over the spending of ratepayer money with a questionable return for the shire".
"We have been in conflict with this particular family for a long time, so what benefit are we going to get from this," he asked.
Mayor Warren Polglase, who at times called the meeting to order, conceded that he may not have followed proper council policy when approving the trip.
Cr Beck said the motion should have been withdrawn because it implied she was wasting ratepayers' money and "was all about discrediting me in the press".
But Cr Dale was defiant, saying "the whole story has gaps you could drive a bus through".
Cr Bob Brinsmead said Cr Beck's trip had "lots" of benefits in that by "maintaining, not burning bridges" council had the chance in future to exhibit some of the Moran Art prize works in the Tweed's new gallery.
Cr Dale's motion was defeated 6-5 along fac- tional lines.