The tradition of Glen Eira Council not responding to public questions in an open, honest, and forthright manner continues. Specifics are ignored, even though the questions focus on specifics; sniping when possible is taken full advantage of, instead of treating all residents with respect. This is par for the course.

But, what is happening far more frequently is the inexcusable failure to read out and answer all questions that have been submitted. We know of at least 3 questions that were submitted via email and the internet for last Tuesday. None of these were read out – they simply did not exist. There was no mention of them on any grounds under the ‘inadmissable’ section of the Local Law. Other questions in the past have been deposited at the front desk, received the requested ‘receipt’ and were clearly marked as ‘public questions’. These also failed to show up at council meetings. For an organisation that continually trumpets its marvellous efficiency, we find it extremely difficult to believe that these questions were not received by council.

So what can we conclude? That all of these questions just happened to disappear? That we are having a plague of ‘clerical errors’? That the fortune that is spent on council computer systems may just be a dud? That there is major inefficiency within the ranks? Or simply, that council did not want these questions in the public domain and they certainly didn’t want to answer them?

It’s also worth reporting on what occurred following the reading out of SOME of the submitted questions:

PILLING: asked whether there are any ‘outstanding questions’ – in particular from one resident.

BURKE: ‘As far as I know’ Burke claimed there weren’t.

HYAMS: then said that there was one question that was read out that they hadn’t received in the normal form because the resident then emailed again to reinforce that she had submitted the question.

BURKE: since Mr xxxxx was ‘actually in the audience’ Burke wanted to remind him of a conversation they had a ‘few months back’ where the resident thought ‘he sent a couple of items in’ but they weren’t received and that when the resident checked his Sent-Box ‘you couldn’t find them either’.

RESIDENT: stated that he had resent them but would have to double check if they went to the ‘right address’.

HYAMS: welcomed the resident resubmitting. Delahunty then interceded.

DELAHUNTY: Asked whether the resident could ask his ‘question now‘.

HYAMS: (Quite flummoxed at this point) ‘Well….generally, the Local Law’ (more mumble, mumble) determines what might be considered out of order and – that was not to suggest that what the resident was asking out of order, but there was the issue of ‘precedence’. Also ‘the chances of getting an answer now’ would be small. ‘So we will move on’!

COMMENT: God forbid that this council sets a ‘precedent’! In fact, it wouldn’t be a precedent since according to the Local Law the chairman is able to do wondrous things at his discretion. The bottom line is that this has got nothing to do with the Local Law and everything to do with Hyams and this council’s terror in permitting residents to speak their minds, offer a view, or even ask a question that might just get a more honest response from the spin doctors without the necessary time to fudge, dissemble, and deflect.

Our next post will illustrate why none of the questions asked received an answer!

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