Monday 17 October 2011

Dysfunctional Cairns Regional Council should be sacked by the Local Government Minister

Email reveals bitter feud between Cairns Regional Councillors

Daniel Strudwick
Monday, October 17, 2011

Tensions within Cairns Regional Council have spilled into cyberspace, with a councillor using an in-house email conversation to take aim at the Mayor's "political mongrels".

The email outburst signals the growing divide between warring factions of the council, ahead of the March 31 election.Mayor Val Schier sent the first of the emails to all councillors, detailing the proper protocols for notifying herself and the council chief if a councillor would be away from their division.

In his response to the email, Division 5 councillor Alan Blake attacked the Mayor’s leadership and accused her of orchestrating a misconduct complaint against him. "I get it — Advise when you are out of town and your political mongrels lodge a CMC complaint against you," he wrote in the email, which was also sent to the other nine councillors.

Cr Blake was on a fishing holiday at Cape York earlier this month when a complaint was lodged against him.The matter is before the Crime and Misconduct Commission. "I had just put in my notification that I would be away for five days and the next day a complaint was lodged against me," he told The Cairns Post. The Mayor said Cr Blake had not taken her email in the spirit it was intended. She said she had sent the email because of inconsistencies in the way councillors had been making their absences known to council bosses.

When Cr Sno Bonneau missed a crucial vote on the Entertainment Precinct last month, the Mayor said she only knew about his absence because of a text message he sent on the morning of the meeting. "It’s something that some members do all the time and others never do and hence we had the issue with Cr Bonneau, when neither the CEO or I knew that he was overseas," Cr Schier said.

The council concedes it has no formal process for a councillor to apply for leave, but it was "normal custom" for the Mayor and CEO to be advised. "Guidelines and protocols should be laid out on the table as soon as we’re all sworn in," Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane said.

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  1. The State Government needs to enact legislation enforcing the exact same conditions of leave erntitlement that the rest of us have to do. That is we must notify the boss well ahead of our intended leave period, and it is up to our boss to determine if and when we have our leave so that rhe business can continue to run smoothly.

  2. I agree Terry. This should be a matter for legisation to the Local Government Act bringing Councillors into line with the rest of the workforce. I'm just apalled that they can just up and go off on holidays whenever they want to. The rest of us cannot!


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