At Tuesday’s monthly Kempsey Shire Council meeting a motion of no confidence in mayor Liz Campbell was voted down.
The man who moved the motion was Cr Leo Hauville.
Cr Hauville said he felt the mayor had not fulfilled the role she committed to undertake, as outlined by the 1993 Local Government Act.
He believes the mayor broke meeting protocol on more than one occasion in the past to prevent him from speaking about certain issues.
“I’m so disappointed in the misuse of the rules to stop me talking,” he said.
“Mayor Campbell suggested the Code of Meeting practice is something to be followed flexibly – wrong.
“They are the definitive guidelines to have a fair, effective and democratic meeting.”
Cr Hauville pointed to several instances of meeting procedure “failures”.
According to Cr Hauville, at the 2017 October Hat Head meeting, he was speaking to a dissent motion when mayor Campbell interrupted and adjourned the meeting for the morning tea break.
At the Smithtown meeting on April 18, the mayor allegedly allowed an amendment before Cr Hauville could speak to his motion.
“The mover of the motion is always able to speak to the motion according to the Code of Meeting Practice, but mayor Campbell allowed a councillor to move an amendment, let her speak and disallowed me speaking to my motion,” he said.
“After I emailed this error to mayor Campbell, she made a mitigated apology and offered no redress for shutting me down.”
Of particular concern to Cr Hauville was the fact a resolution banning any Plummers Lane motion was allowed at the December 19 meeting.
“A farce – imagine if we agreed to a motion banning any consideration of any issue related to the airport because its consideration might upset some people,” he said.
“Mayor Campbell allowed this motion and voted for it, when it is clearly the right of any councillor to raise any issue concerning the community.
“It should have been ruled out of order by the mayor, according to the Model Code. How can we as councillors refuse to discuss an issue because it might upset people?”
Following the no confidence vote – which was lost 7-2, councillors took action to ban similar motions from being introduced in the future, which further irritated Cr Hauville.
“How can this restriction on democratic process be allowed?,” he asked.
“What’s to stop them voting in favour of a motion to prevent me from introducing new motions and stopping me from speaking altogether?”
Cr Hauville admits he knew the no confidence motion was destined to fail from the outset.
However, he said, ultimately, he was just trying to issue a wake up call to mayor Campbell and the rest of council in the hope of improving democracy, leadership, openness and transparency.