New general manager on the council’s agenda

A screenshot from this month’s online council meeting.

THE appointment of a new general manager is one of three agenda items proposed for a special meeting of the Derwent Valley Council this Thursday night. The meeting will be the second to be held in an online format under the provisions of the COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020.

On the agenda for the public part of the meeting are a recommendation to approve the construction of a large shed at 40 Atkins Rd, Granton, as well as a staff proposal to increase the number of development applications to be determined without referral to a council meeting.

The closed part of the meeting will receive a confidential report on the subject of the appointment of a general manager. Applications for the vacant position closed earlier this month.

Mayor Ben Shaw told the New Norfolk News that the necessary arrangements for the online meetings had been set up internally using Microsoft Teams, a product which is described as a “communication and collaboration platform” used for workplace conversations, video meetings and file storage.

Council communications officer Daniel Cheetham said the cost of the online meetings was covered by the council’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365.

While other councils using Microsoft Teams or Zoom as the platform for their online meetings have enabled live online viewing by the public, the Derwent Valley Council has not. Instead, it published a video on YouTube several days later.

Posting on Facebook at the time of the monthly council meeting, a spokesman said it was not possible to offer a live broadcast. “Live streaming would only work if all of our councillors were in the same room. Social distancing doesn’t allow that to happen, so they’ll be video conferencing in from different locations, and we’ll record everything to make sure we have a true and accurate record of what is discussed which we’ll make available on our website as soon as possible.”

Several posts by community members challenged this assertion, noting that members of the public were using their mobile phones for video meetings, and the Glenorchy City Council had streamed its meeting via Facebook. The council spokesman said the matter would be looked into.

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