THE first of the Derwent Valley Council’s new-style workshops will be held on Thursday night, with the public invited to attend for 30 minutes from 6.30pm. At 7pm the public will be asked to leave, allowing councillors to discuss further matters in private.
The new arrangements were endorsed by all but one councillor at last month’s council meeting. They were but one part of a report into establishing a committee system at the council. The report also recommended against a committee system; suggested that consideration be given to an audit committee; and that councillor membership of committees be reviewed annually.
Opening the debate, Councillor Wayne Shoobridge said he was aware of much confusion amongst the public but he assured them there was no ulterior motive to the plan to close workshops to the public after 30 minutes.
Cr Judy Bromfield said she supported the proposal on the proviso that the council resumed its previous practice of publicly advertising the workshops.
Cr Chris Lester said there was nothing secret about the proposal, which was only one of the recommendations before the council. Cr Lester said he could see that Cr Damian Bester was shaking his head. “I ask Cr Bester whether his editor’s meetings are open to the public,” he said.
Cr Bester had unsuccessfully moved a motion that the council establish an audit committee in accordance with the recommendation of the auditor-general, and that workshops remain completely open. His remarks are on his website.