Ratepayers to speak up

Sean O’Reilly.

THE public will be given a more audible voice at council meetings under a proposal by Greater Dandenong councillor Sean O’Reilly.
At a council meeting last month, Cr O’Reilly called for a change to local laws to allow the public to ask their questions directly at council meetings.
He said the proposal wouldn’t “open the floodgates to spurious or vexatious questions” but allow the public to engage more “face-to-face” with the couuncil.
“The public are not a ’pack of hyenas’ wanting to tear the council apart with questions.
“Many times they just want information on how council is spending their rates.
“Why can’t we trust the public to do the right thing?”
Cr O’Reilly conceded there would need to be some “moderation” to stop residents asking repetitive questions “designed to wear down the council’s resolve”.
Under current local laws, the public may write questions, which are read aloud by the council’s chief executive at the meeting.
Corporate services director Mick Jaensch said the change would require a 28-day community submission process and then be gazetted.