Q & A with Hilltops Council Administrator, Wendy Tuckerman
What process was used to determine the members of the Local Advisory Groups?
“The determination was made in consultation with the Minister for Local Government, the Local State Members and the Administrator.”
What is the salary or remuneration package for the Administrators for the next 16 months?
“The Minister for Local Government, Hon Paul Toole MP, under proclamation from the Governor of NSW determined the salaries of the Administrators. That salary was determined to be $180,000 per annum, as advised by OLG 20.5.16. During this time the administrator takes the role of the elected council and the mayor of the Local Government Area.
Can you elaborate why a Councillor such as Tony Flanery (Harden) was left out of the new advisory group and two members of the public in Pat O'Connor and Jan Ryan were selected ahead of him?
“Those appointed to Local Representative Committees demonstrated a commitment to the success of the new Council, the purpose of the new Committees is to provide advice to the Administrator on local views and issues. Due to a lack of interest from some former Councillors on sitting on an advisory committee a number of names were put forward from community members, those community members were contacted and subsequently expressed an interest in sitting on an advisory committee, they also demonstrated a commitment to the success of the new Council.”
What money has the State Government allocated to the new Hilltops Council and what projects will be prioritized by Council?
“The Government has allocated $15 million to Hilltops Council for Infrastructure projects. Further information can be found at https://www.strongercouncils.nsw.gov.au/funds/ It is intended that Council will work with the Implementation Advisory Group and Local Representative Committee to determine the process to be followed in allocating the funds. In addition to the $15 million for Infrastructure, Council has been allocated $5 million to assist with the costs of establishing the new Council with funds likely to be spent on things such as establishing new corporate IT and communications systems and consolidation of plans, policies and strategies from across the three former Councils.”
Can the Administrator comment on the suitability of using certain news outlets as her main point of contact over more established titles?
“Advertising Council business to the public is an operational issue determined by the General Manager, the Administrator hasn’t determined any particular publications as her main point of contact. Council will be reviewing its advertising strategy to ensure that we are getting the widest possible coverage for the most efficient cost.”
What are the outcomes from the confidential part of the meeting held on Tuesday 24th May?
“The confidential section of the meeting was to make a decision on acquiring a piece of private land for the purpose of establishing an easement for a water main. The outcome of that report will be included in the minutes of the meeting.”
Does the Administrator believe that the process has been fair and democratic in regard to her appointment as Administrator?
“The Premier and Cabinet of the NSW State Government which includes Minister for Local Government (whom are all democratically elected officials) determined the process. The Administrator welcomes the appointment of Local Representative Committees to advise her on decisions of Council business and to assist in engaging communities and partners in planning for the new Council.”
A rate strike has been proposed by a small minority of residents, what are the administrator’s views on how the Hilltops Council would react to such a strike?
“Councils have the ability to incur interest charges on overdue rates and after a period of time the Council is able to sell rateable land to recoup outstanding rates including any interest from overdue payments. In addition, to be able to continue to provide the services that the community relies on, the Council needs to be able to generate the same levels of income it always has. As you are aware a lot of people in each of the three communities are employed by Council to provide services to the community and the Council plays an important role in providing employment opportunities within our community. The administration costs in dealing with outstanding debtors is only likely to result in negative financial impacts for residents down the track but in the meantime a lack of rates income will impact the ability for Council to provide services to the community, which in turn affects the Councils ability to pay staff to provide those services.”
Wendy Tuckerman, Administrator, Hilltops Council – 0428 853 351