Three motions put forward by City of Gosnells Mayor Glenn Dewhurst at last week’s council meeting were shut down by the majority of councillors with the overarching message ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
Mr Dewhurst requested Chief Executive Ian Cowie prepare discussion papers on several issues that had been brought to his attention by local residents including making council workshops and council briefing sessions open to the public and sourcing the advantages and disadvantages of council elected and popularly elected mayors.
At the meeting Mr Dewhurst said he believed the council could operate better and that reviews were necessary to see if operations could be improved.
Council spoke for a lengthy period of time on each motion and voted 10 to one against all three motions.
Mr Dewhurst was the only councillor who voted in support of each.
On the issues of open workshops and briefing sessions Councillor Olwen Searle said council should be careful what they wished for.
“I believe that what we have got now actually works,” she said.
“Our ratepayers are free at any time to pick up their phone and talk to anyone on this council.
“We are very open and we are very transparent.”
Councillor Dave Griffiths said the idea of opening up briefing sessions to the public could be ‘very dangerous’.
“We as councillors might want to ask some pretty sticky questions at these briefings and we may get some pretty sticky answers and I don’t think that should be for public consumption,” he said.
Councillor Ron Mitchell agreed and questioned the amount of time the applicant needed to ask questions or get information.
“In the eleventh hour you want to give them (the applicant) another opportunity to revisit the application or come up with a lot of other things… there is no need for it,” he said.
The morning after the August 14 meeting Mr Dewhurst posted on his mayoral Facebook page apologising to the residents who had asked him to bring forward the motions for council discussion.
One of the comments read: “I have been sanctioned by my fellow councillors, condemned, mud thrown at me at every meeting, been attacked continuously, I expect more for speaking out. I’m not here for them, I am here for the ratepayers.”