|Coober Pedy News|
|No. 63 20 August 2004|
Cynics and scoffers beware.
About five minutes before the start of the District Council of Coober Pedy August 17 council meeting I removed the public copy of that evening's meeting agenda from the folder on the council office front counter, and took it into the chambers to use to follow the meeting.
After the meeting I replaced the agenda in the folder.
On August 19 I again accessed the folder to check on something in that agenda. I found at the top of the papers a notice of a special meeting for August 18, a meeting deemed to be of a confidential nature relating to a staff member, thus excluding the public, dated August 17. It reminded me that I heard Mayor Baines call out, after the meeting two night's ago, to the departing councillors, "Don't forget the special meeting tomorrow night.", and that I had asked a councillor on my way out of the chambers what the meeting was about, and he said it was a Section 90 (public excluded).
"That's strange," I thought as I stood at the counter, "it wasn't there on the evening of the 17th so it must have been put on the counter, at the earliest, first thing on the18th. And meetings deemed to be Section 90, according to the Local Government Act, have to be notified as such. My musings were interrupted by a friendly counter staff member asking me if I needed any help. My reply of, "Yeah, all the help I can get," sent her laughing on her way.
Back to my dilemma.
I hadn't been in to check the folder on the 18th so I had no way of knowing when the notice was put out. Maybe it wasn't even put out until the 19th. Maybe the council is up to something - they are always being accused of all sorts of things - maybe they are trying to get rid of a 'difficult' staff member who might be about to 'blow a whistle'.
Q: Where to go from there?
A: Ask the Mayor.
So into the post office I go and happen to be able to find Mayor Baines on duty behind the counter.
"Just curious," (low key, you see, not wishing to start alarm bells ringing), " how come," I asked him, "the notice of the impending August 18 special meeting was not in the public folder on the 17th, and how come it was dated August 17th?"
His answer was that it was dated the 17th because that was when he signed it, and in any case the minimum notice he is required to give for a special meeting is 4 hours, and the councillors were told about the meeting on the 17th anyway.
"Coises, coices, nothing untoward after all!"