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Cr Karen Toms claims a recission motion lodged by Cr Greg Clancy at council extraordinary meeting on Friday, August 18, is not legal. Image: CVC

Was recission motion legal?

Rodney Stevens


Clarence Valley Council General Manager, Laura Black has contacted the Office of Local Government to determine whether a recission motion lodged at Friday’s extraordinary council meeting is legal.

At the start of the extraordinary council meeting on Friday, August 18, at Maclean, Cr Clancy tried to lodge an urgent recission motion to halt tender negotiations, which had the support of five councillors, that he submitted to General Manager, Laura Black before the meeting.

A point of order was called by Cr Karen Toms, who said the urgent motion was against the code of meeting practice.

Cr Karen Toms told Loving Life 103.1 Fm’s Damien Fisher on Monday August 21 she and other councillors felt ‘blindsided’ by Cr Clancy’s move to lodge the urgency motion to halt tender negotiations over the Treelands Drive Community Centre, which they were totally unaware of.

“You’ve got five councillors doing that to the other four councillors and not including them and just coming in and blindsiding us, of course, we were wondering what was going on,” she said.

“Once I went home and analysed what did go on, it’s pretty disappointing.”

Mr Fisher then asked Cr Toms whether the five councillors colluded, or formed a caucus, which is not permitted in local government.

“No that is not allowed, but it certainly looks like that because there are five names on the recission motion,” she said.

“I would imagine the Office of Local Government would take a dim view on that conduct.”

Cr Toms said Cr Tiley told the meeting he didn’t know anything about Cr Clancy’s recission motion, which she said was misleading.

“He gave us the impression that he had no idea about it…but how could that be true, his names on it,” she said.

“I think definitely that we were misled, because yes, he’s saying he didn’t sign it, but his name’s on it because obviously Cr Clancy was expecting a signature from him.

“That really disappoints me too, because I really truly believe we were misled.”

As Cr Clancy didn’t notify all councillors of his urgent recission motion, Cr Toms claims they were ambushed.

“We were blindsided, it was an ambush, I felt it was an ambush to put a recission motion at an extraordinary meeting, it’s not even permitted,” she said.

“A recission motion has to have at least seven working days and then it goes to the next ordinary meeting, so to try and get it moved at an extraordinary meeting is just bad form…breaching the code of meeting practice.”

Cr Toms said council’s General Manager, Laura Black, had emailed all councillors advising Cr Clancy’s motion was an unlawful recission motion.  

“She is going to the Office of Local Government just to clarify that her belief, based on the code, that it’s unlawful,” she said.

“What they tried to do is wrong, it doesn’t meet the code of meeting practice and it’s disappointing that a Mayor of 60 years’ experience and a Deputy Mayor of seven years’ experience didn’t even know that, it’s beyond belief.”

Mayor Ian Tiley told the CV Independent, Cr Clancy followed the correct procedure to lodge the recission motion which must be lodged seven working days before it being considered.

But Cr Tiley said the recission motion wasn’t the business of the meeting, the meeting was held to consider the two motions on the business paper about tender negotiations for the Treelands Drive Community Centre and the Regional Aquatic Centre.

“The recission motion hasn’t yet been considered, all that has been considered were the two recommendations from staff on Friday, and each of those were defeated,” he said.

“So, we have to go back to the recission motion to have a reset, if that’s what you’d call it.”

Cr Tiley said the General Manager is enquiring with the Office of Local Government OLG to see if the recission motion is legal.

“We have to be bound by what the OLG tell us, but I didn’t consider it on the day because the recission motion wasn’t able to be considered last Friday,” he said.

“How can I mislead the council when it wasn’t in the business paper.”

Cr Greg Clancy said the issue was ‘a storm in a teacup’ and he believed the recission motion was legal.

“I am happy that the recission motion is legal and I am looking forward to the General Manager confirming that and proceeding with the motion,” he said.

The CV Independent contacted council for a comment from Laura Black but was unable to get a response before going to print.