On 9 May this year Kingborough Council voted:

That Council not conduct Annual General Meetings in 2016 and 2017.

Councillors opposed were myself, Crs Atkinson,  Bastone and Grace; but the motion passed 6-4.

The reason the Annual General Meeting (AGM) was recommended to be dumped was primarily because barely any residents were actually turning up.

It was a good point.  Not a single person turned up to Kingborough’s first (there were two, but that's a long story) AGM last year. 

I took this photo of the gallery.

Attendance of zero sits in on Kingborough Council's boring 2015 AGM

 

In 2014, I was a new candidate for Council with elections only a few weeks later, but amazingly still didn’t find out it was on.

However, what I found when I sat in on the 2015 AGM as a Councillor was that even if people did come, they would have found it to be absolutely terrible.

The first problem with Kingborough AGMs was that with so many Kingborough residents commuting to and from work in the city, a time of 5.00pm on a Monday makes it very difficult to attend.

Even if they had found out it was on, and made it back to Kingston by 5:00pm, residents would have seen Committee Chairs pointlessly read reports – word for word – that were printed in the Annual Report.  The whole thing was over in less than 15 minutes.  

My view was (and continues to be) that rather than scrapping Council’s major annual briefing with the community, Council should revamp the event and properly advertise it.

Having been defeated on 9 May, I worked on ideas to get at least two Councillors to change their mind.  I talked to staff about moving it to a weekend, having presentations about big Council ideas, projects and programs and live streaming the meeting on Facebook.

However, after I had given my notice of motion incorporating those ideas, I was informed that Council staff had become aware that the decision taken on 9 May was ultra vires (beyond one's legal authority) because in actual fact the Local Government Act still required that all Tasmanian Councils conduct the meeting.

The result:  the AGM is back on.

On 22 June Council agreed to a revamp of the AGM.  Essentially, Councillors said if we have to have it, we may as well try do it better.

This year, on Saturday 3 December from 11am at the Council Chambers Council .

Senior Council officers will be on hand and there will be presentations about the old Kingston High School site (Kingston Park) progress as well as Council’s work on climate change impacts on Kingborough’s coastline. 

Finally, because this is an AGM this is the only meeting of the year where residents can move motions from the floor, as well as ask questions (like you can at a regular meeting), this is your best opportunity to really make your voice heard.  

You can find the agenda here