Council to increase transparency by declaring Councillor expenses
Published on 06 January 2021
In a bid to increase transparency and accountability, Council has resolved that Councillors table a statement of all claims made under its Councillor Expenses and Facilities Policy at each Ordinary Council meeting as part of their delegate report.
Following consideration of the matter, Council further determined that Councillors who have incurred travel or other costs that are borne by Council directly shall provide a statement of these at each Council meeting.
Uralla Shire Acting Mayor, Deputy Mayor Cr Isabel Strutt said the process forms part of Council’s strategy to increase its transparency and accountability to the Uralla Shire community.
“It is important the community have confidence in the amounts Councillors are reimbursed for undertaking their official duties.”
“This expenditure is public information, and by tabling claims made under the policy at each Ordinary Council meeting this information will be made more easily accessible by the public.”
“Key objectives set out in Council’s policy are that Councillor expenses and facilities are acceptable to and meet the expectations of the local community, and that Councillors are not financially disadvantaged in undertaking their civic duties.”
“By tabling these claims, Council also intends to increase awareness of the policy and to encourage all residents to run for public office in the upcoming Local Government elections, including those who may not reside in the Uralla township,” Cr Strutt said.
The decision to table councillor claims followed Council’s determination to amend its draft Gifts and Benefits Policy and place the policy document on public exhibition.
The Gifts and Benefits policy was reviewed following amendments to the Model Code of Conduct issued by the Office of Local Government earlier in the year. Council amended the policy to stipulate that Council’s token value of a gift is $50, being a lower amount than the amount set out in the Model Code.
The amended policy is open for public comment for 28 days, following which submissions will be referred back to Council for consideration. If no substantive feedback is received, the policy will be adopted as amended.
The amended Gifts and Benefits Policy on public exhibition can be viewed at Council’s website at www.uralla.nsw.gov.au or on request at Council’s Administration Offices, 32 Salisbury Street, Uralla. Written submissions can be made to Council until 5:00pm, Thursday 21 January 2021.
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Uralla Shire Council
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