Mayor defends Cessnock council private meeting

This is appalling behaviour from the Cessnock ALP.

The Mayor (pictured below)  makes public comments to the local newspaper, The Advertiser, which can be found seen at this link   http://www.cessnockadvertiser.com.au/story/1717872/council-takes-over-visitors-centre/?cs=459

…….and then, on the same day as the newspaper is published, the Mayor rules the Council meeting has to be held in confidential session because the information is sensitive! Do you think maybe the ALP is sensitive about the amount it will cost ratepayers?Bob Pynsent

I’m afraid it’s back to the bad old days of ALP manipulation for Cessnock Council.

James Ryan

Article below by Damon Cronshaw and Newcastle Herald, 24.8.13

CESSNOCK City Council has been blasted for holding a meeting in secret about its decision to take over the wine and visitor information centre at Pokolbin.

Several councillors said the decision would cost the council at least $25,000 a month, which they believe was unaffordable.

Councillors Ian Olsen (independent), Cordelia Troy (Liberal) and James Ryan (Greens) said the matter should have been debated in open council.

Labor mayor Bob Pynsent said the council had a right to debate the matter confidentially because it involved staffing and financial matters.

Cr Pynsent defended the extra spending.

“The visitor economy is one of our biggest employers as an industry with more than 3000 jobs and we need to support it,” Cr Pynsent said.

Cr Olsen said the decision could mean cutting back on roadworks and maintenance.

“We’ve been told we’ll be insolvent in three years,” Cr Olsen said.

He said there was “no reason whatsoever” to hold the meeting in secret.

“It’s typical of the Labor Party and how they do business,” he said.

Cr Troy said the decision had the potential to be “another massive waste of money to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars”.

Cr Ryan said the “public have a right to know” details of the matter.

He said the council would be spending “large amounts of money that is unbudgeted”.

“It will end up costing us far more than if we had kept funding the tourism association,” he said.

In June, the council slashed $400,000 in annual funding to the wine tourism and industry peak body, which had run the visitor centre.

“This is a major embarrassment for the Labor Party,” Cr Ryan said.

But Cr Pynsent said it was an “opportunity to develop a vision and a long-term strategy for the centre, which will support business growth”.

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