Ballina councillors go on the record

Ballina Shire councillors who vote against a motion will now have their names recorded, after Cr Alan Rich narrowly succeeded in reforming Ballina Shire Councils code of meeting practice.

At last weeks meeting Cr Rich moved to amend the code so all votes against a motion are recorded, saying it was a fundamental right of all citizens in a democracy to know how their elected representatives vote.

The same motion was put up by Cr Rich in January but it was defeated.

Cr Rich said it was a simple exercise for minute-recording staff to do and it was already a longstanding and common practice at meetings of Lismore City Council, Rous Water and Byron Shire Council.

Cr Alan Brown said he felt it was an unnecessary waste of time for staff but acting mayor Cr David Wright said he didnt think it would be onerous for them. Cr John Felsch said councillors should not be ashamed of how they voted while Cr Sharon Cadwallader said it made for more open and transparent meetings.

When it came time to vote for the six councillors present, Cr Margaret Howes abstained from voting by leaving the chamber and Cr Rich called for a division to clarify the vote, which resulted in only Cr Browns name recorded against it.

Mayor Phil Silver and Crs Keith Johnson and Peter Moore were absent.

In a following motion, Cr Rich failed in his bid to allow audio recordings of Council and committee meetings. The motion lapsed for lack of a seconder.


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