Horsham Rural City Council has finalised changes to its meeting procedure

A REVISED version of Horsham Rural City Council’s meeting procedure has been approved. 

Director corporate services Graeme Harrison said the procedural changes intended to set general standards expected during the formal meeting process and addressed how matters of debate were managed. 

He said the document aimed to encourage community participation in local government and improve transparency through recordings of future meetings. 

Debate on proposed changes to the document were postponed twice – at a meeting on September 18 and again on October 2 – and councillors continued to debate the document at a meeting on Monday last week.

Some raised concerns their ability to raise a notice of motion during their individual councillor reports was removed.

Cr Mark Radford put forward an amendment to Mr Harrison’s original recommentation to the council.

His amendment called for the continuation of notices of motion during councillor reports, if required. 

“With the slight change, we have the opportunity to further push a motion if we have to. I think to discount this, we are cutting out something valuable,” Cr Radford said. 

“[Overall, the document] has been modernised, contemporised and has picked up some of the new things we are adopting in this place.” 

Mayor Pam Clarke said she felt uncomfortable making changes after a long period of debating the document. 

“We have debated this issue three times and we have brought a document to this meeting. We cannot go back now and change little bits,” she said. 

Cr David Grimble said the revised meeting procedure would guide the way council operated. He said addressing individual concerns of councillors was fair and reasonable because it could confine the way council functioned.

Cr John Robinson said councillor reports allowed for councillors to move a motion on certain matters. 

“I do not understand why we would limit our capacity. We should leave ourselves some flexibility,” he said. 

Cr Robinson also raised issues with limiting public question time and the document not addressing an issue of debate occurring between councillors via email.

Cr Robinson opened the debate on the meeting procedure motion with a long list of amendments. Some were addressed during a lengthy debate among councillors.

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