Monday, 13 October 2014

Never try to set the record straight at Clarence Valley Council

Local government is the vital third tier of Australian government and at its best the decisions it makes are based in good governance, as well as responsive to both legislative obligations and the will of the electorate, with its official minutes an accurate recording of fact.

Sadly, Clarence Valley Council does not always fit this profile.

A case in point is the Attachment to Item 14.167/13 in Clarence Valley Council’s Ordinary Meeting Minutes of 19 November 2013.

This attachment contains errors of fact in that it records anonymised statistical information which is incorrect.

If a casual reader of these records wished to look further using just the terms “code of conduct” and “$14,900” (both of which are in said document) a Google search to date will still bring up the name of the councillor in question because local media reported the matter on 16 and 18 October 2013.

As of 12 October 2014 this misleading document remains a part of Clarence Valley Council official digital records available on the Internet, even though Council has had an approved corrected document available to it since 5 June 2014:

Snapshot of excerpt from Item 15.024/14 in  Corporate, Governance and Works Committee Business Paper, 14 October 2014

Cr. Toms is obviously becoming tired of Clarence Valley Council’s historical record continuing to knowingly contain incorrect information, which can be easily linked to her name and which is capable of raising doubts about her conduct in the minds of casual Internet browsers.

The Business Paper for Council’s Corporate, Governance and Works Committee meeting scheduled for 14 October 2014 contains Motion 15.024/14 by Cr. Toms seeking Correction to Department of Premier and Cabinet Division of Local Government Code of Conduct Complaints Report 2012/13 and Public Notification.

The response by Clarence Valley Council management to this motion descended into farce very quickly with this:

When one compares it with another attachment 14.162.13 in the very same November 2013 committee minutes, one can see how risible this argument is:

Snapshot of attachment list recorded for Clarence Valley Council Ordinary Meeting Minutes,19 November 2013 - taken on 12 October 2014

Apparently the historical record can be easily amended when it suits and thus far it hasn’t suited Council’s executive to do so in the case of Attachment 14.167.13.

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