Midcoast Council will be represented by a large delegation at the Local Government NSW Conference which begins on Sunday 16 October in Wollongong.
The conference is described as the pre-eminent event of the local government year and will be attended by Administrator John Turner, Interim General Manager Glenn Handford and seven members of the Local Representative Committee (LRC).
NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Local Government Paul Toole will speak at the conference with sessions on natural resources and infrastructure planning included.
MidCoast Council has confirmed it will cover the costs for each of their representatives which includes the $899 registration fee, $110 for the Reconciliation and ALGWA Breakfasts and $154 for the Conference Gala Dinner in addition to travel and accommodation expenses.
According to MidCoast Council, funds from the Councillors Professional Development budget from the three merged Councils will be utilised for the conference.
Former Greater Taree City Council Mayor Paul Hogan has publicly criticised MidCoast for sending the large contingent stating it is a “great waste of time and ratepayers money.”
Speaking with News Of The Area, Mr Hogan said the LRC members “are not Councillors and should not be presenting themselves at this conference.”
“They weren’t elected, they are only selected people and it’s unfair to the ratepayers of MidCoast Council,” he said.
“If the LRC members want to attend, they should pay their own way.”
Mr Hogan also said, “There is no point in the LRC members attending because they cannot vote.”
MidCoast Council has confirmed that Mr Turner is the only representative who is eligible to vote on motions.
The LGNSW rules prevent delegates of newly amalgamated councils from voting, however under special arrangements made for this year’s conference, Administrators of newly merged councils will have voting rights.
The LRC members attending the conference are Kathryn Bell, Leigh Vaughan, Katheryn Smith, Len Roberts, Jan McWilliams, Carol McCaskie and Karen Hutchinson.
The conference runs from 16 – 18 October 2016.