Councillors riled over un-social media conduct
PERSONAL attacks against Tweed Shire Council staff on social media have been banned under new code of conduct rules.
Debate was heated as the motion put forward by Councillor Carolyn Byrne was debated on Thursday night.
“There’s been photos of members of the public gallery taking photos of councillors and vice-versa,” Cr Byrne told the chamber.
Cr Byrne’s motion was passed 4:2 but not before heated debate over the assertion council staff had been unwillingly captured in the photos.
Cr Gary Bagnall challenged Cr Byrne for evidence of photos, by encouraging public gallery members to hold up their smart phones without actually taking a photo.
Cr Barry Longland said with his comments, Cr Bagnall had identified himself as the “perpetrator”.
Cr Bagnall retorted by saying the accusation was “defamatory” before offending council staff by asking if, under the new rules, he would be allowed to photograph a council staffer kicking a dog.
Mayor Katie Milne called for an amendment to allow transparency, through video of council meetings recorded and broadcast on the internet, as is the practice of Byron Shire Council.
It failed 2:4, with debate seeing Cr Phil Youngblutt ask the chamber if councillors were in “kinder”, prompting Cr Milne to “shoosh” him.
Cr Warren Polglase said the debate had become trivial.
“Here we are, a multi-million dollar organisation debating trivial rubbish, it’s no surprise we’re seen in the community as a travelling circus,” he said.
Councillors resolved on a policy where councillors and administrators will be banned from taking photos, video recording or taping interaction with council officers, unless prior permission is granted.