Lynnette Saloumi

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Politicisation of Council

Stop the Politicisation of Council  

If you have heard the stifled groans from the Public Gallery every time a Division is called for in Council meetings you will know that’s when the political balance of power dictates the outcome of a motion. The hypnotic state of Councillors in forced allegiance to the Chair is excruciatingly obvious.

Here are two examples to prove my point and both relate to convenient backflips to satisfy Glen Waverley Ward constituents and to suit the former Mayors chances of re-election.  

In both instances you should note that Cr Robert Davies and Cr Theo Zographos, the two Liberal Councillors recently targeted by Lake in media releases, were actually in opposition to the Chair’s factional position when the original motions were discussed on 31 May 2016. Now the Chair has directed his groupies “in unison” to execute 180 degree turns on their previous positions.

Example 1. The Waverley War Widows

One wonders how any intelligent person representing the City of Monash, a City so named after a war hero and ex- serviceman, could deny soldier’s widows an annual grant of c. $460  because they meet in their local RSL – just because this not for profit club has pokies.  But that is what an ignorant 30 something does. And when this was voted on at the 31st May Council Meeting – the groupies followed the Grand Leader and denied the Widows Community Support Funding. The RSL Committee was present and disgusted.

On realising Council Elections are imminent and in a game of Follow the Leader all the group-think Councillors who supported Lake to deny the War Widows Funding on 31 May, did a backward somersault at the 26 July Meeting.  All reversed their decisions when he revealed he did not realise before that these people had dead husbands who had served in the war and the RSL was the natural choice of venue.

Example 2. The C125 Amendment  

The published C125 Amendment was drawn up by planning officers employed by Monash Council. They had marked a large area of land to the East of Springvale Road as Heritage and Environment, recognising its importance to the Dandenong Creek escarpment. One look at the size of this NRZ4 Zone to be protected from intense development, and Cr Lake – who should be representing the constituents affected – drew a line through Gallagher’s Rd and Camelot Drive and determined that the area to the West should return to GRZ4.  His factional friends in Council agreed with him and constituents then were forced to submit objections in order plead a case to have the area returned to the Council’s original position. When the submissions were heard on 3 May 2016 Cr Lake was a no-show – absent from the meeting!

Then on 19th July – along came an 80+ year old resident who presented then Mayor Lake with a petition of over 440 signatures from ostracised Glen Waverley Ward voters living to the East of Springvale and West of Gallaghers Rds.  Add to this persuasive demonstration of people power, a personal plea from the Behaviour Monitor, whom Mayor Lake had recently appointed at $10,000 to provide him with glowing reports of his Chairmanship prior to the election …and BINGO the decision to intensify density in the area to the West of Gallagher’s Road was abandoned. On 26 July when this motion by Cr Lake (former Mayor) was heard in Council all his group- think councillors went with the flow and supported Lake in his backflip. Sadly, the area north of High St Rd is still under contention and the subject of Planning Panels Hearings in September. I will be presenting their argument at this panel despite not being personally affected.

The community should come first and foremost – not political aspirations and not to be distracted by an ever growing collection of Board Directorships.