GESAC – FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE

This afternoon the Agenda for next Council Meeting (10th April, 2012) was made available on Council’s website.

As a follow up on our previous two posts on the woeful way Council is reporting continuing delays in GESAC opening, it is worth noting that this Agenda DOES NOT include any mention of a GESAC opening date or a Pools Steering Committee (GESAC) Update.

Please note that the first 2012 meeting of the Pools Steering Committee (PSC) was held on 9th February and the minutes (as uninformative as usual) appeared in the Minutes of the Council Meeting of 28th February, 2012, (Section 8.a.iii).    These PSC minutes advise that the next PSC meeting would be held on 8th March, 2012.

The 8th March PSC meeting minutes were not presented at the 20th March, 2012 Council Meeting despite there being ample time to include them.   Local law requires committee meeting minutes be presented at the next “appropriate” Council Meeting. If the 20th March meeting was deemed inappropriate, why aren’t the PSC 8th March minutes included Agenda for the 10th April.

Given, the cost of the project, the problems GESAC is facing, the continual delays and the impact on Council’s finances (cumulative lost revenue as at the end of February, 2012, is $1.7m* and growing), Council (Councillors and Administrators) should be all over GESAC.  The PSC should be meeting a lot more than once per month and Council should be actively keeping residents fully informed.

Instead, of being fully informed, since the 20th March Council Meeting we get the following

  •  On 27th March Newton indicates an April, 2012 opening date
  • On 2nd April, 2012, a Bayside Weekly article, states “ while the council was pressing to have the centre open by the end of April, Cr Lipshutz (Chairman of the Pools Steering Committee) said progress was ‘‘in the hands of the builder’’.  A fair interpretation is we don’t know.
  • No mention of GESAC in the Agenda for 10th April.

In all probability, and as has frequently happened in the past, the PSC 8th March Minutes (and perhaps the early April meeting) will be loosely inserted in the Council Agenda moments before the meeting.  A “clerical oversight” explanation is not acceptable – Council should be actively ensuring residents are presented with the information in the agenda so that residents rights to ask pertinent public questions are preserved.  (Public questions must be submitted before noon on the day of the meeting to ensure the questions are included in the meeting – the questions and responses are recorded in the meeting minutes).

Council’s communications failure on GESAC is deplorable and is not good governance – its not open, its not transparent and its definitely not accountable.  Additionally,  it does not treat residents and/or GESAC members with respect.

* Agenda Item 9.10 – Financial Report, page 6 – Lost GESAC revenue $1.66m + lost GESAC consulting suite income $54K

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