Mayor calls for ban on booze at council meetings
TWEED Shire mayor Katie Milne is calling for a ban on ratepayer-funded booze being served to councillors, staff and media at council meetings.
Cr Milne has proposed to move a motion at tomorrow’s meeting, calling on council to cease providing alcohol during and after meetings and workshops, with Christmas and special events to be the only exceptions.
Currently at council meetings, supper is typically served in a dining room outside the Murwilllumbah chambers at about 7pm, with the option of wine, spirits (such as gin and tonic), beer and soft drinks available to guests.
“Alcohol is regularly consumed during and after council meetings and workshops,” Cr Milne said.
“Council has a fridge full of beer and wine and a cupboard of spirits. I don’t feel comfortable with this.
“What people do in their own time is their business but I don’t believe the residents should be paying for alcohol for councillors and executive staff.”
In a reply to the motion, published in papers released prior to the meeting, council staff said management had adopted the Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace Protocol in March 2015, which applied to council workers but not councillors.
“Provisions of the Code of Conduct also require that council employees and councillors must not conduct themselves in a manner that is likely to bring council into disrepute,” council staff wrote.
Also on Thursday night, a dispute over the expenses of councillor Carolyn Byrne will be debated.
Cr Byrne’s travel claims from June to November 2015 were referred for review.
The Audit Committee has found they should be reimbursed and council staff have recommended councillors support the decision.