Mayor wins through
Friday, 1st April, 2011
By Andrew Robertson
Mayor Wincen Cuy has won changes to the structure of City Council's standing committees, but not before he was accused of threatening councillors.
At its monthly meeting on Wednesday night the council voted to maintain its four standing committees but increased their membership to include every councillor.
The change came after the mayor labelled the previous structure, which had each councillor on only two of the four committees, as ludicrous.
Council had been using two standing committees but changed to four late last year so as to give councillors more time to consider reports.
But Mayor Cuy, who was overseas when the change was made, criticised the structure after two meetings in February failed to achieve a quorum.
The issue was brought up in a Council report at Wednesday night's meeting, where councillors were given four options to consider.
During discussion the mayor indicated he would reserve his right to chair all four committee meetings if councillors did not agree to be on the four committees.
Councillor Tom Kennedy said this amounted to a "threat" to councillors.
Councillor Neville Gasmier also took exception to the mayor's message, saying: "If you want to chair the meetings, chair the meetings, but don't threaten us."
After the meeting, Mayor Cuy said the change to the committees was needed and dismissed suggestions he threatened councillors.
He said it was only right that councillors at least have the opportunity to attend and vote at each meeting.
"What we were finding before was that some councillors who were actually attending the meetings were able to involve themselves in the debate but then when it came to a vote, they couldn't actually vote.
"I believe it's imperative that every councillor has the ability to come to every meeting and vote at that meeting.
"So I think this a good compromise. We've actually now got four committee meetings which gives everybody an opportunity to be there and everybody attending those meetings would have the opportunity to vote."
Mayor Cuy said he would be more than happy for other people to chair the committee meetings.
"It gives everybody the opportunity to understand what the difficulties are of actually chairing the meetings and understanding meeting practices as well."
The two meetings will continue to be held on Monday and Tuesday afternoon but they will now run into each other.