A new procedure for special electors meetings in Bunbury will help avoid any future confusion, according to Mayor Gary Brennan.
In the aftermath of last month’s electors meeting – which ended in hostility – Bunbury City Council is developing a set of guidelines for any future meetings.
The meeting, which was called to provide further information and public consultation on a proposed civic and cultural precinct in the CBD, ended in a farce when both councillor and community members’ emotions ran high.
Several people complained that they were not able to raise other motions at the meeting and a vocal crowd was left disgruntled.
“I recognise that there was a lack of community knowledge regarding the special electors meeting and the format in which it should have followed,” Mr Brennan told the Bunbury Herald.
“So city staff have been putting together a procedure for future special electors meeting to avoid any confusion.”
He said the procedure would be finalised “fairly shortly” and it would also set in place some guiding principles he would “observe” during his time as Mayor.
“Because it’s up to the presiding officer how those meetings are conducted,” he said.
“We’ve had two special electors meetings in six years, so it’s a very rare occurrence, but obviously there was quite a bit of confusion amongst the general public about what is involved.
“I ran that meeting according to legislation and there were people in that room who are aware of the legislation – all the elected members are aware and I suppose a few of the more avid local government watchers would have been aware but the general community was not aware.
“We need to, as an organisation, make sure that we can raise the awareness of what’s involved and set out clearly what can and can’t be discussed.
“By the very name, it’s a meeting for a special purpose – a matter, a particular issue. It’s not a general electors meeting, it’s a specific meeting so we need to make that clear.
“If there is another call for a special electors meeting then at least the people who attend will be given information about precisely what is involved in that meeting and how it will be conducted.
Mr Brennan has been a vocal advocate to scrap annual general electors meetings and he said special meetings were also unnecessary with council meeting question time and approachable elected members always available.
“What I encourage people to do, if you have questions is ask them and we’ll give you a response, that is what that section of the agenda is all about,” he said.
“We have council meetings every fortnight and in October there’ll be 13 members of council, we’re all available.
“If anybody has an issue or a query with the city council, please raise it with me or one of the elected members and we’ll deal with it to the best of our ability.
“But there is no need for those special electors meetings.”