Mayor calls for greater voice for community

Cootamundra mayor Jim Slattery has plenty of questions for the State Government over the handling of council amalgamations.

Cootamundra mayor Jim Slattery has plenty of questions for the State Government over the handling of council amalgamations.

Cootamundra mayor Jim Slattery is questioning a schedule which suggests community members will have just 15 minutes to have a say at next month’s merger inquiry meeting. 

That is 15 minutes in total, not 15 minutes per person! 

Cr Slattery said it is not good enough and some leeway must be employed prior to scheduling arrangements on the day of the February 4 meeting. 

“If 20 people have asked to talk through the correct channels, then they all need to have a say,” Cr Slattery said. 

He said such an important matter to the future of the Cootamundra Shire should not be condensed into a few paragraphs of speech. 

The inquiry will take place at the Ex Services Club.

Residents can register to attend the inquiry at www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au or by contacting 1300 813 020. 

People should head to this same website to register their interest in speaking at the inquiry. 

Only those who have pre-registered will be allowed to speak. 

Written submissions can also be made prior to January 28 online or by mail to: GPO Box 5341 Sydney NSW 2001.

Meanwhile, Cootamundra is still waiting for an invitation from Gundagai Shire to participate in talks over the merger. 

Cr Slattery said Cootamundra is willing to get on with the business of sharing information and forming a plan for the future as soon as they hear from Gundagai Shire. 

With an invitation not forthcoming, Cr Slattery said Cootamundra Shire will be questioning the minister over what happens if Gundagai refuses to meet with them.

There has been some talk in the national press that administrators will be brought in to run councils should the existing staff and elected representatives not acquiescence to what the State Government is asking. 

(http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/administrators-emerge-as-prospect-for-merged-sydney-councils-20160108-gm22im.html)

Cr Slattery said whatever happens in the future, he wants some assurance that the local council will continue to be run by locals. 

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