Who is running Manly Council? It's certainly not the elected councillors, says Councillor Candy Bingham, who has called for an Extraordinary General Meeting to address the issue.
Cr Bingham says the council has delegated extensive powers to General Manager Henry Wong. The result is that major decisions are being made with no input from councillors and sometimes without them even knowing what's going on.
The latest affront concerns a plan to include a water polo pool in addition to council's $15 million upgrade of Manly's Boy Charlton Swim Centre. Clr Bingham said she found out by chance that a development application (DA) for the water polo pool was lodged late last month. Councillors were not notified this was happening until the day before the story appeared in the Manly Daily.
“The last input councillors had on a possible polo pool was a Mayoral Minute in October to ‘explore the possibility’ of providing such a facility. Now, suddenly, a DA is lodged complete with full design drawings” she said.
"I'm not against the possibility of a water polo pool being built at the swim centre. I'm just outraged at the contempt with which the elected councillors are treated," she said.
The same approach has been taken with the long-awaited due diligence reports on the council's $80 million Manly 2015 Plan which includes a major redevelopment of the Whistler St site and a multi-million dollar car park under Manly oval.
"It appears that the General Manager is planning to submit a CapEx (Captial Expenditure) submission to the Division of Local Government this month, on this multi-million dollar project, (update15/1/13: this has now been done) although no formal Council resolution has been made that the project should proceed”, Cr Bingham said. "This is not how a democratic council should be run."
According to Clr Bingham the corresponding due diligence reports were only released last month, three days before Christmas. “Again there has been no opportunity for councillors to debate the new information and its implications for the controversial Manly 2015 Plan,” she said
The request for an Extraordinary Meeting has been lodged by Clrs Candy Bingham and Hugh Burns to bring the due diligence reports for Manly 2015 back to Council.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.