Agenda items for Tuesday night feature several important items

DELEGATIONS

Once again councillors are largely sidelined when it comes to planning matters and the most important powers are ceded to officers. We reiterate what we’ve said in the past:

  • No councillor ‘call-in’ on applications – ie. countless other councils deem it essential that a councillor be given the right to insist that a planning application be decided by a full council rather than 3 bureaucrats as happens in Glen Eira under the Delegated Planning Committee (DPC) structure
  • The criteria for determination remains vague and unquantified. For example: the Schedule to the DPC states that this committee may decide upon applications when “There has been significant objection/s in terms of substance or number received to an application, amendment or any other matter”. Precisely what ‘significant’ entails is of course not stated. Are we talking 5 objections, 10 objections, 50 objections? We note again that numerous other councils specify the number of objections that will automatically see the application go to a full council meeting.
  • There are other nebulous phrases contained in this schedule for the DPC: ‘significant departure from policy”. Again, what does significant mean in this context, and who is to decide? Certainly not councillors!
  • We refer readers to a previous post where the significance of such delegations is outlined in greater depth: https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/delegations-the-glen-eira-way/
  • We also note that Newton’s spending power has now reached $750,000. This amount does not require a council resolution!

COMMUNITY CONSULTATION COMMITTEE

The farce of ‘consultation’ in Glen Eira continues with the minutes for this meeting. The positions for community reps will be readvertised since according to the spin – “The committee discussed the lack of diversity of applicants in relation to young people and families and thought that it was important to seek applicants from a broader range of community members.” Strange that we happen to know of at least 2 applications from well versed residents who just happen to also be ‘family’ members with young children. Their ‘rejection’ has more to do with whom council doesn’t want representing the community voice than with whom they do want. Intelligent, articulate, and pro-community people we suspect would be anathema to the powers that be!

There’s also a paragraph on the review of the overall consultation strategy itself. We find the following particularly relevant: “In section on engagement tools and techniques include: disadvantage to meetings and forums as ‘can be dominated by interest groups, and disadvantage of social media as ‘individuals may submit multiple times’. Does this augur the demise of ‘multiple methods’ of community consultation?

Finally, the proposed terms of reference for the committee when it is eventually reconstituted with community reps includes the rider that VOTING POWER will only be granted to councillors! Reps will be selected on ‘agreed criteria’. Of course, these criteria remain top secret!

RECORDS OF ASSEMBLY

See the following as items of real interest:

“Cr Lipshutz – a development in Inkerman Road that has a Condition requiring that a laneway be properly made that will cost the developer. Asked that this Condition be reviewed.”

“Cr Delahunty – advised that she had met with the Chairperson of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust who had updated her on thek Trust’s current deliberations. Said that she understood that there is nothing preventing the Councillor Trustee members keeping the full Cpouncillor group updated on the Trust’s deliberations.”

Readers should also peruse the report on the ABC studios site and its potential sale for residential development.

PS: A very quick search has revealed some further fascinating comparisons between Glen Eira Council and its neighbours regarding the delegation to the CEO. Unlike Glen Eira, these other councils have imposed certain limitations on the powers of their CEOs. Glen Eira appears to set no limits!

Stonnington – without the concurrence of the Mayor communicated to the delegate at a meeting or conference convened by him or the Mayor for the purpose of informal discussion (http://www.stonnington.vic.gov.au/your-council/about-council/council-delegations/)

Bayside – If the issue, action, act or thing is an issue, action, act or thing which involves:

4.1 awarding a contract exceeding the value of $300,000 for an annual capital works contract;

4.2 awarding a contract exceeding $100,000 per annum for the supply of goods and services for a period exceeding 5 years;

4.3 approving a contract variation that exceeds 20% of the original contract sum, where the original contract sum is $250,001 or greater;

(http://www.bayside.vic.gov.au/10.15_Instrument_of_Delegation_to_CEO_-_2013.pdf)

 

Boroondara – A new power to acquire or dispose of other interests in land to the value of $500,000 or less (excluding GST) is inserted.

Under the existing delegation, the Chief Executive Officer also has the power to vary contracts which were approved by Council. The power is conditional upon expenditure limits, being: [if] the value of the contract is greater than $500,000, the aggregate value of the contract (taking into account the value of expenditure for the further term and the value of the variation) may not increase by more than or 10% or $100,000 whichever is lesser.

(http://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/~/media/Files/Your%20Council/Meetings%20and%20Agendas/Council/20130527/Report7%20Instruments%20of%20Delegation.pdf)

Monash – Increase the maximum value of contracts that can be awarded by the Chief Executive Officer, to $250,000.

(http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/reports/pdftext/cp28may13/6.1.pdf)

 

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