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Mayor Golder wanting to seek legal advice privy to himself

Maranoa Regional Council mayor Tyson Golder added a last minute motion at Thursday’s meeting to seek his own private legal advice at the expense of the council.

Cr Golder tabled ‘Approval for Mayor to incur legal costs’ to his fellow councillors only minutes after the controversial restructure feedback was rejected by the majority at the ordinary meeting on January 28.

A vote to add it to the meeting was passed by eight out of the nine councillors, with only councillor Johanne Hancock voting against.

Cr Golder also attempted to seek legal advice at the December 9, 2020 council meeting, when all councillors but Cameron O’Neil voted to have the council write to the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) CEO to seek the advice for free.

Cr O’Neil asked Cr Golder why this motion is being put forward after someone similar was dealt with in December 2020.

Cr Golder responded saying that he believes this is needed and is seeking the council’s permission to seek the legal advice.

But when Cr O’Neil said the earlier motion was to seek the legal advice back then, Cr Golder replied with, “yes, but this is really to do with the efficient running and improvement of the local government.”

Cr O’Neil asked that since this legal advice will be paid for by the council (therefore ratepayers), whether the advice will be shared between the councillors.

“I certainly will be if I believe it’s in... I certainly will be doing that if I believe it’s relevant,” Cr Golder said.

“I won’t automatically be sharing it.”

Cr Hancock then asked what the difference is between the advice sought in December 2020 and that of now.

“This is really to do with the efficient running as part of my responsibility,” Cr Golder replied.

Council CEO Julie Reitano then told the meeting that while all councillors have the same responsibilities, the mayor did have additional functions that the role required.

Ms Reitano told the meeting that if the legal advice was sought for sections (b), (c), or (d), of the extra responsibilities the mayor has under the Local Government Act 2009, then it should be shared between all councillors.

Cr Golder later said that LGAQ responded saying the previous legal advice was not available, hence why he’s going through this route.

“Actually what I’m looking for is to seek the advice myself,” Cr Golder said.

“From what the CEO’s saying, and I don’t ever want to do the wrong thing so I think I should get some advice on that.

“I just want to ensure that I can seek the legal advice directly, if it’s appropriate, and also without seeking advice that just is the domain of the CEO.”

All councillors voted to lay the matter on the table for a later meeting.

The mayor’s extra responsibilities are, as per the Local Government Act 2009:

  • (a)leading and managing meetings of the local government at which the mayor is the chairperson, including managing the conduct of the participants at the meetings;
  • (b)leading, managing, and providing strategic direction to, the chief executive officer in order to achieve the high quality administration of the local government;
  • (c)directing the chief executive officer of the local government under section 170;
  • (d)conducting a performance appraisal of the chief executive officer, at least annually, in the way that is decided by the local government (including as a member of a committee, for example);
  • (e)ensuring that the local government promptly provides the Minister with the information about the local government area, or the local government, that is requested by the Minister;
  • (f)being a member of each standing committee of the local government;
  • (g)representing the local government at ceremonial or civic functions.

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