The ASU has been involved in a lengthy process of supporting members who have been directly impacted by the actions of the current Mayor in relation to their work for Council. This situation has been escalating for some time and we thought it worthwhile, following our site visit to Triabunna earlier this week to send a newsletter to all members outlining the role of a mayor and where the line is drawn in relation to operational matters.
Section 27 of the Local Government Act 1993 is quite clear on the what the role of a Mayor involves:
27. Functions of mayors and deputy mayors
The functions of a mayor are–
to act as a leader of the community of the municipal area; and
to carry out the civic and ceremonial functions of the mayoral office; and
to promote good governance by, and within, the council; and
to act as chairperson of the council and to chair meetings of the council in a manner that supports decision-making processes; and
to act as the spokesperson of the council; and
to represent the council on regional organisations and at intergovernmental forums at regional, state and federal levels; and
to lead and participate in the appointment, and the monitoring of the performance, of the general manager; and
to liaise with the general manager on the activities of the council and the performance and exercise of its functions and powers; and the activities of the general manager and the performance and exercise of his or her functions and powers in supporting the council; and
any function imposed by an order under section 27A ; and
any other function imposed by this or any other Act.
Also, Section 28 (3) of the Act is relevant, as the Mayor is first and foremost a Councillor:
28. Functions of councillors
In performing any function under this Act or any other Act, a councillor must not direct or attempt to direct an employee of the council in relation to the discharge of the employee’s duties.
Section 63 of the Act provides information in relation to employees
The general manager of a council may –
appoint persons as employees of the council; and
allocate duties to employees; and
control and direct employees; and
suspend or dismiss employees.
The Mayor only has the authority provided to her by the Act. As is evident from the above sections of the Act, she is only permitted to interact with the General Manager, not directly with any other employees of Council. She is not permitted to direct employees or allocate them duties, nor is she permitted to get involved in the day to day operations of Council business.
Councillors, more broadly, set the strategic direction and make decisions for the Council but the General Manager and their employees implement the stategies and decisions of Council.
We were also asked by members to provide reference to the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, which can be found on the GSBC public website here and a complaint form is available from here. Should any member feel the need to raise a formal complaint about the conduct of the Mayor they are encouraged to make contact with the ASU for assistance and representation.
For those members in Swansea and Bicheno, we are in the process of finding a time that is acceptable to Council for us to visit and hold discussions in relation to your workplace issues and the enterprise agreement. This should be finalised next week and notification made to members on the times and locations for these meetings.
For further information please contact:
ASU Organiser Samantha Batchelor | 0404 877 012 | firstname.lastname@example.org