Bundaberg Regional councillors were unable to reach a quorum due to declared conflicts of interest.
Bundaberg Regional councillors were unable to reach a quorum due to declared conflicts of interest.

CEO makes call as council unable to make quorum

BUNDABERG Regional Council’s chief executive has determined the outcome of a confidential matter, because there were not enough councillors in the room to make up a quorum.

In the full council meeting yesterday, it needed to make up the required quorum of six by bringing in councillors who had declared conflicts of interest, and to vote to allow chief executive Steve Johnston to make the decision for them.

The unusual local government technicality occurred when mayor Jack Dempsey and Cr Helen Blackburn declared connections regarding infrastructure charges relief discussed in the confidential section of the meeting.

“As a family friend of a family member, I’ll be leaving the room,” Cr Dempsey said.

That left only five councillors in the room, because four counsellors were absent.

Crs Scott Rowleson and Judy Peters had requested a leave of absence. Cr Wayne Honor was away due to a family matter and Cr John Learmonth was attending a funeral.

Mr Johnston described the scenario as an “unusual situation”.

When the mayor and Cr Blackburn left the chamber, he said the resolution could be determined by allowing him to make the decision, through Sections 175, and 257, of the 2009 Local Government Act, if a quorum could not be reached.

And by allowing Cr Dempsey and Cr Blackburn to return to the chamber, they would have a quorum to allow Mr Johnston to make the decision.

Mr Johnston said he would follow the council’s confidential recommendation.

Cr Ross Sommerfeld said after the council meeting that he expected the resolution would likely have been passed if there had been a quorum, and regardless of Mr Johnston’s vote.

It is understood Mr Johnston already had the power to make the decision.

But a council spokesman said given the application’s circumstances the CEO preferred the councillors to make the decision.



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