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Turmoil Unveiled: Wyndham Council Faces Governance Crisis Amidst Councillor Behaviour Concerns

Call for Monitors at Wyndham City Council
  
   

In a startling revelation of discord within Wyndham Council, Council Watch, a civic watchdog organization, has raised serious concerns regarding governance and behaviour standards during public meetings. The latest meeting, held last night, witnessed a notable deterioration in the conduct of council members, prompting calls for immediate intervention to address the escalating situation.

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Expressing dismay over the apparent lack of respect and civility among councillors, Dean Hurlston, President of Council Watch Victoria, urged Minister Melissa Hoarne via e-mail to intervene swiftly to rectify the situation. Hurlston highlighted instances of poor conduct that marred the proceedings, including councillors being excessively preoccupied with their mobile phones during crucial deliberations, undermining the attention required for effective governance.

“The standards of councillor conduct demand respect and civility between councillors and the community,” remarked Hurlston, emphasizing the urgency of the matter.

The meeting, intended as a forum for robust debate, instead laid bare the simmering tensions and division within the councillor group. The palpable atmosphere of anger and discord prompted suggestions for the appointment of a monitor by the Minister to oversee the council’s operations.

“I am aware of MANY problems amongst the councillor group, multiple conduct matters, pending VCAT appeals, the list goes on,” lamented Hurlston, underscoring the urgent need for intervention to ensure effective governance in Wyndham, one of Melbourne’s largest Local Government areas.

VIDEO: Watch the turmoil unfold

Play Video about Screenshot 2024-02-28 at 4.43.58 pm

Amidst accusations of incessant infighting overshadowing meaningful debate, Council Watch implored authorities to intervene before the upcoming election period, fearing further deterioration in governance standards.

The inability of the Mayor to effectively manage the meeting due to constant interruptions and attempts by certain councillors to assert dominance only served to exacerbate the situation. Council Watch expressed empathy for the Mayor’s plight in grappling with the disruptive behaviour of fellow councillors.

Moreover, concerns were raised about the impact of such behaviour on council staff, with Council Watch condemning the prevalence of personal attacks and disruptive conduct as unacceptable.

Pointing to specific instances during the meeting, Council Watch highlighted timestamps corresponding to disruptive behaviour, including a public call for monitors by Cr. Heather Marcus.

“These behaviours are unacceptable, disrespectful, and downright rude,” remarked Hurlston, urging the council to uphold higher standards of conduct in future proceedings.

In a bid to address the concerning developments, Council Watch extended an invitation to the Mayor for discussions on improving councillor standards of behaviour, emphasizing the urgency of the matter.

As Wyndham Council grapples with internal strife and governance challenges, the spotlight remains firmly on the need for swift and decisive action to restore order and uphold the principles of effective governance.

 
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