Are councillors drunk on power?

THE row over the refusal by Tweed Shire councillors to publicly declare their expenses is set to take another twist, with one councillor demanding details on how much is spent on booze.

Greens Party councillor Katie Milne has given notice of a question for next Tuesday’s meeting seeking details of the cost, amount and type of grog consumed at ratepayers’ expense.

Her question has been dismissed as petty by Mayor Warren Polglase, who says he keeps to soft drinks at council meetings, but it has the support of former mayor Joan van Lieshout, who last year failed to stop alcohol consumption at council dinners.

Some councillors enjoy a drink during the council meeting dinner breaks and also stay for an after-meeting drink late at night.

During the last elected council from 1999 to 2004, senior council staff attempted to reduce the size of wine glasses served at dinner breaks, concerned the after-dinner meetings were dragging on because councillors became too argumentative.

Cr van Lieshout has supported Ms Milne’s question, saying she did not believe councillors should drink any alcohol when they had to return to meetings.

She said it was also her belief “if councillors partake of any alcohol, it should be paid for by themselves”.

Cr Polglase said the council bar fridge was only opened once or twice a month, when Cr Milne was also known to “partake” after a meeting.

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