MUNDARING Shire will consider electors’ motions earlier than intended after an Echo News enquiry found it in breach of the Local Government Act (LGA).
The electors’ motions presented at the Shire’s December general electors meeting will now come back to Council in February after some items were intended for consideration at the March and April meetings.
During public question time at last month’s Council meeting, Mount Helena resident John Bell asked why electors’ motions were not on the agenda.
Shire President John Daw said Council needed more time to prepare reports and they would come back to council over February, March and April.
Mr Bell notified his fellow ratepayers on the Mundaring Rates Facebook page of his question and the Council’s response.
In response to the post, deputy president Lynn Fisher said January and February were months of heavy workload for Council officers due to holiday time and special 2018/19 budgeting workshops.
“Each item has an officer’s report to provide information to Council,” she said.
“That is a lot of work to give each item the research it deserves.
“Council thinks the electors items are very important and if officers take an extra month to get the reports in order that is ok.”
Glen Forrest resident Dave Salloway expressed disappointment that ratepayers would have to wait at least ten weeks for electors’ motions to be considered.
“With all respect, the items were raised six weeks ago and some are scheduled to be discussed in four weeks for the first time,” he said.
“That’s 10 weeks from being raised to initial discussion for the first, and likely 14 to 18 weeks for the rest, at best, that’s 3 months, or a quarter of the year for initial discussion.”
The Department of Local Government said under the LGA “any decisions made at an electors meeting are to be considered at the next ordinary Council meeting or if that is not practicable, at the first ordinary Council meeting after that meeting, or at a special meeting called for that purpose”.
When asked if the Mundaring Shire was in breach of the Act by not considering electors’ motions by the second meeting after the annual electors meeting, and if there were penalties for the breach, the Department said it was the Shire’s responsibility to proceed in accordance with the Act.
“The Act does not provide for a penalty however it is the local government’s responsibility to ensure that decisions made at electors meetings are considered in accordance with the Act,” a department spokeswoman said.
In response to the allegations, the Shire of Mundaring backflipped on their original decision and will now consider all ten motions on February 13.
“This will include proposed timeframes required to allow for the preparation of detailed reports on several of the motions to ensure Council is able to make an informed decision,” acting chief executive officer Megan Griffiths said.
Shire of Mundaring Council can defer motions to a later meeting if they require further preparation of detailed reports.
By Claire Ottaviano