It was an Extraordinary Council meeting in more ways than one.
Three councillors voting on two agenda items in a meeting which lasted less than 30 minutes.
Despite five of the 9 Dungog Councillors having resigned and an apology from another, Crs Nancy Knudsen, Robert Booth and Linda Bowden met on Friday afternoon for an Extraordinary Meeting.
The three councillors considered wording for the proposed poll at the next local council elections to gauge the community’s thoughts on remaining independent, merging with Maitland or Port Stephens councils or changing the council boundaries.
They also later considered a confidential item.
Resident John Connors spoke at public access before the meeting telling the councillors the meeting “had no standing”. He quoted sections of the Local Government Act.
Cr Robert Booth moved the Acting General Manager’s recommendation on the wording for the proposed poll, which was seconded by Cr Bowden. Cr Bowden then moved an amendment which was agreed to by Cr Booth. Both spoke briefly on the proposed wording as did Acting Mayor Cr Knudsen before the vote was put and all three agreed.
An extraordinary Dungog Shire Council meeting is still scheduled to go ahead this afternoon – despite there being only four remaining councillors.
A council staffer confirmed the 4pm meeting – to discuss poll questions at the next council elections and a confidential item – was still scheduled to go ahead despite five councillors resigning.
In a further twist Fairfax understands one of the four remaining councillors is currently overseas – leaving only three possible councillor attendees.
In the report available on the council’s website, the councillors are asked to consider the questions to be put to the community at the next council meeting.
These include whether the community would like the council to remain independent; to negotiate with Port Stephens or Maitland councils about a merger or to apply to the Boundaries Commission to split the sire.
The second item for consideration was confidential and involved “Innovation fund – round two proposal”.