Sack councilsays Crichlow

By JADE BILOWOL

THE Gold Coast City Council had experienced such a rapid state of decline since Ron Clarke became mayor that the council needed to be dismissed, councillor Dawn Crichlow said last week.

Cr Crichlow said the council had made many decisions to the detriment of Gold Coast ratepayers since Cr Clarke romped into office in March, including swiftly increasing rates, water fees and councillors' own pay packets.

She said the hundreds of thousands of dollars developers put behind councillors' campaigns was in clear conflict with the public interest, as was the decision for councillors to fly business class at ratepayers' expense.

"The council should be dismissed - 100 per cent, absolutely," Cr Crichlow said.

"People have had enough because this council has really screwed them.

"An administrator should be brought in and I am saying this because I have the city at heart."

She also accused the council of shrouding its decision-making in secrecy to stifle public debate.

"There is this trend to keep as much from the people as you can to stop debate," Cr Crichlow said.

"We went behind closed doors for the budget and we have the majority of councillors having private meetings."

Councillors Crichlow, Eddy Sar- roff and Peter Young, the three outcasts of the council's so-called "bloc", have thrown their support behind a community call for an inquiry into the council similar to a probe underway into the Tweed Shire Council.

NSW Local Government Minister Tony Kelly's announcement of a Royal Commission-style investigation into the Tweed Shire Council earlier this month was a response to community anger over dealings with developers.

A public inquiry is the most significant action a council can be subjected to and most similar probes in NSW have resulted in the council under investigation being dismissed.

Citizens for Democracy and Concerned Ratepayers are putting together information and a petition to present to the Queensland Local Government and Planning Minister Desley Boyle.

Cr Clarke said the council was running efficiently and therefore an inquiry was not required.

"I would expect those sort of claims from the usual three," Cr Clarke said.

He said the council was open and accountable and most of the councillors met before the public meetings to familiarise themselves with issues, not to decide the fate of the public meetings.

"If I were to have private meetings, I would hardly have them just prior to a public meeting," Cr Clarke said.



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