It?s business as usual

By DARREN COYNE

IT WILL be business as usual at Tweed Shire Council despite the sacking of councillors this week.

That assurance was given yesterday by Garry Payne, the Director General of the NSW Department of Local Government, and one of three administrators appointed by the NSW Minister for Local Government, Tony Kelly.

Mr Payne said although he was yet to meet with fellow administrators ? former mayor Max Boyd and former Sydney Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull ? an appropriate schedule of meetings would be set out when they get together on June 1.

"It is very important that the Local Government Act is followed with regards to accountability and transparency. It will be a very open administration," he said.

"Council meetings will be held as normal, as will community and staff access meetings," he said.

Mr Payne said there might be some changes with regard to the days that meetings were held, but the amount of time available would not be altered.

Pending items such as the budget, which was due to be considered on June 1, could be held over for a fortnight while the administrators absorbed the contents, he said.

"Putting something off though won't necessarily hold something up," Mr Payne said, adding that approved development applications would not be affected.

"If something has already been approved and communicated to the applicant then there is a binding contract. If applications are still in the pipeline then they will now be considered by the administrators.

"I would like to get to a point where the ordinary person in the community would not notice any difference in the level of service from the council."

Mr Payne said Mr Boyd and Mrs Turnbull would each receive a fee of $41,000, which was the equivalent of the mayoral fee plus a councillor fee. Mr Payne receives no fee.

"The cost of 11 councillors plus the mayor is around $170,000 so I don't expect there will be any major increase in costs," Mr Payne said.

As for concerns or complaints regarding the administrators, Mr Payne said his deputy director general of the Department of Local Government, Ross Woodward, would look after the Tweed Shire area.

The quorum for a meeting of the council will be two, one of whom must be the Director General.

Under the proclamation from the Governor of New South Wales, Marie Bashir AC, which dissolved the council, 'any matters before council that the administrators are unable or unavailable to determine for such reasons such as conflicts of interests or pecuniary interests, a substitute administrator could be appointed by the Minister for that limited period'.

"The administrators are to complete and lodge with the General Manager, within 21 days a disclosure of interests", the proclamation said.

Tweed Shire Council general manager Dr John Griffin also announced yesterday that it would be "business as usual" at the council.



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