Budget debate fallout continues

THE Department of Local Government has received another complaint about Blacktown Council meetings.

Councillor Edmond Atalla wrote to chief executive Ross Woodward seeking advice about a rescission motion at the June 25 meeting.

He and fellow Labor councillors walked out in protest after the Liberals moved a procedural motion to end debate on the council budget.

According to Cr Atalla, mayor Len Robinson tried to put the motion through before he lost the quorum, but in the confusion of the situation, forgot to declare the motion.

The mayor had the numbers at a recent meeting to pass the June 25 minutes as accurate, despite Cr Atalla claiming otherwise.

Cr Atalla believes it warrants a department ruling and the motion should be ruled as invalid.

"This raises a major concern and a precedent that motions can now be declared based on an understanding of how a councillor may vote rather than how a councillor actually votes," he said.

"We are elected to represent our constituents and we should have the right to express our opposition to the budget."

The mayor wrote to the department last November about the conduct of Labor councillors but was told it wasn't in breach of the council code of conduct.

The mayor said Cr Atalla was entitled to write to the department but described the claims as "pure nonsense."

"It is about time Cr Atalla recognised he was elected by the ratepayers to work towards the betterment of the city for the residents," Cr Robinson said.

"They did not elect him simply to try to create dysfunctionality in the council; to promote his image for political purposes. He knows the result before he makes these complaints. He has already wasted countless hours of the general manager’s time and thousands of dollars of ratepayer’s money on legal advice.''

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