Item 9.17 – Sporting Allocation Policy

Hyams moved to defer item until next council meeting.Lipshutz seconded.

HYAMS: said this was a ‘complicated matter’ that they ‘wanted to get right’ and that the policy ‘requires a bit more work’ and that councillors after ‘a bit more discussion’ revisit the issue.

LIPSHUTZ: said that ‘various emails went around’ today and that ‘some councillors’ proposed some changes. So he thought that it ‘was appropriate’ that all councillors get a chance to look at the proposed ‘amendments’ and ‘get it right’. Delaying would give councillors the ‘opportunity to look at the various changes’ in greater ‘detail’.

MAGEE: began by saying that it’s ‘important that we get this document right’. More people are playing sport and there’s ‘not enough open space for them all’ and 20 teams couldn’t be accommodated. Said there are clubs who aren’t playing who would want to play in Glen Eira and ‘how we manage that is incredibly important’.  Said that after ‘6 or 8 months’ that they are ‘still debating’ the issue, shows how important this is. What councillors are trying to do ‘is refine it’ (the policy) so that the majority are benefitted and any negative repercussions are limited to the least number of people. Also said that the open space should also be used properly ‘not just for active events but also passive events’. Thought the ‘policy is very, very close’ to ‘getting it right’. Said he got a couple of emails today one of which ‘I liked’ and one which he didn’t like. So all that mattered now was that the policy be given a little ‘tweak’.

DELAHUNTY:  supported deferring because ‘we haven’t really come to consensus’ on the issue. Thought that ‘this was a good lesson’ about what should have been done ‘in the beginning’ and that there’s been ‘no transparency on the decision making’ and that council ‘needs to take that lesson on board’. Said that it will be completed soon because ‘we can’t drag this on any longer’ and ‘whatever it takes we need to get transparency’ into the process.

OKOTEL: said this was important because this was ‘the first time’ that council’s ‘practices would be put into a policy that would be followed’. Also wanted ‘some feedback’ to be ‘received from the community’ and this could take the form of either ‘some satisfaction feedback from sporting clubs’  and others that it was important for ‘the development of this policy’.

LOBO: started by saying that history shows that council ‘jumps’ to make laws and policies and codes of conduct ‘just because of one instance’ and said that this policy is ‘because of one club’ and ‘we have not checked with the other clubs if they are also facing issues’. Went on to say that out of the other clubs there haven’t been any ‘issues with them’ who ‘conform to our rules and regulations and working with council’. Claimed that ‘the practice’ was ‘working well’ and an ‘unwritten policy so far has been working extremely well’ and that the government told them that they are one of the ‘best’ in terms of processes and if nothing is wrong then ‘why do we try to repair it’. Said that policies do need to be ‘reviewed’ from time to time ‘based on experience’ and that many residents also play in ‘neighbouring municipalities’ and that ‘sport does not recognise municipal boundaries’. Lobo then went on to mention the ombudsman and said ‘when I was last interviewed by the Municipal Inspector’ he was ‘asked whether it is my responsibility to enter into the operational side’. AT THIS JUNCTURE MAGEE SPRANG UP WITH A POINT OF ORDER. WITHOUT EXPLAINING ANY POINT OF ORDER PILLING SAID “I WILL UPHOLD THAT’ and whilst Pilling ‘appreciated’ Lobo’s concern and passion asked that he stick to the motion. Lobo then said ‘we should not interfere with the operational side of the council’.

HYAMS: said that although November is the time for sending out requests for allocations the delay won’t hurt this because ‘we can still do this’. Referred to Lobo’s statement about ‘doing this for the benefit of one club’ and that that’s not correct. Said that issues might be brought up by one person and that causes a rethink. Went on to give example of Weekend Story time where a resident had told him that they couldn’t make the midweek time slots but they could if this was held on weekends. So he ‘suggested’ this change and it was brought in. So this is an example where someone has brought to council’s attention that the ‘policy is not as transparent as it could be’ and as a result ‘we decided to act on it’. Not about one club because there are plenty of others who can’t get allocations so ‘they also want to know why they can’t get the allocations’. He ‘rejects the slur’ from Lobo that ‘we’re doing this for one club’

PILLING: said he didn’t think that Lobo was ‘slurring’ one club. ‘It wasn’t a slur’ and asked Hyams to ‘withdraw’ that comment.

HYAMS: ‘Okay’ that was his interpretation. Went on to say that ‘the last time’ he spoke with an ‘integrity agency’ he was told all discussions were confidential and commended Magee for the point of order in order to prevent Lobo ‘from breaking that law’. Said that Lobo ‘was right’ about councillors not being involved in ‘operations’ and that ‘he’s right’. Councillors ‘set policy’ and ‘this is what we’re doing’.

MOTION PUT AND PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

COMMENT

Doublespeak continues unabated. Hyams’ use of the term ‘transparency’ in regards to introducing weekend Story Time is the highlight of the debate in our view. Next, Okotel’s call for ‘feedback’ is also remarkable and we ask – why wasn’t this done BEFORE any so called policy came into being? And how does she suggest this now be incorporated into what’s already been written? Formal submissions? ‘Private’ discussions? The latter will really enhance ‘transparency’ no doubt! Delahunty’s little kick up the backside would be far more convincing if real actions actually preceded the tabling of such a document. Lobo’s and Okotel’s admissions that there was no policy, just ‘process’ signifies the extent to which Glen Eira Council believes, adheres to, and implements any form of ‘transparency’. It would appear that only when residents have had a gut full of this administration’s autocratic rule and there are sufficient complaints from possible vested interests, or simple outrage together with negative publicity, that councillors see the need to ‘tweak’ something rather than doing what they should have been doing months and months ago. This isn’t a question of 6 to 8 months of delay. It’s years and years of secrecy and the failure to ensure full accountability.

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