Council-agitator Fast Buck$, aka John Anderson, will be now be mediating with Council staff over his long-running compliance disputes after Council debated the matter at last Thursday’s meeting.
But that didn’t stop him from slapping a subpoena on general manager Graeme Faulkner and NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione.
Fast Buck$ is seeking to gain all documents, notes, invoices and other records regarding the Council raids on his property. Specifically, Mr Anderson wants to know the reasons for the use of police with his compliance action. The Byron Bay court date is set for 31 May.
Put forward by Cr Tom Tabart, the motion sought to diffuse the ongoing stoush: Mr Anderson’s property in Coorabell has been raided several times in past years for non-compliance issues.
Most recently compliance officers claimed that fire alarms were not installed.
Tabart’s also asked for the report on Mr Anderson to be made public.
Cr Tabart told the gallery there is a lot of grey area with this and many other compliance cases, and that there is ‘little prospect of staff getting the result they are looking for’.
He then accused the staff of evading his direct request for a cost analysis on the matter.
With regard to financial implications, Tabart says ‘nil’ was reported.
‘The fact that all the activities were funded from within the budget means that money is not being handed back at the end – it has not been saved or spent on more important things.’
Cr Ross Tucker spoke against interfering with the legal proceedings. ‘It’s a staff matter… it’s down the track a good way.
‘We are hearing every word… [we are] trying to muddy the water. I think we should stay well out of it. And if anything we should encourage staff to continue discussions.’
Cr Staples agreed with Cr Tucker: ‘Compliance should not be a function of the elected body’.
He added he was weary of ‘using the word mediation when it comes to compliance’.
He went on to say, ‘Smoke alarms are dreadful things. They always go off… apart from having radioactive stuff in them – I wonder if there is a better type of smoke-alarm.’
At one point Buck$ sparked up from the gallery and said, ‘Ross I thought you wanted to save legal costs.’ Another jibe was aimed at Cr Cameron: ‘This is all about you sitting on the fence, Basil, as always’.
The comments caused Cr Tucker to recall not-so-fond memories of Mr Anderson’s previous time as a councillor.
The mayor again asked staff of the expense. ‘It seems there’s been a hell of a lot of staff time and energy that went into this… If Mr Anderson isn’t the most difficult and annoying person in the Shire then I don’t know who is. I might be number two, but I’d proudly be that way. He has earned a reputation for many other things, perhaps not currently known. But where’s the equity?
‘Have we treated everyone that’s known to us that has unlawful housing the same way? No. Has he attracted a lot of attention to himself, and most likely pissed off a lot of staff? Yes. We have reports back in 2001 about unlawful development in rural areas – did we ever deal with the issue? Have we ever dealt with the issue of holiday lets? Six hundred properties across the Shire that were taken away from residents.
‘If some people are living in substandard shacks, well, some of us have [done so] for many years. Some of us came here for that sort of lifestyle. Because we don’t believe in a consumerist or commercial world, so what? What this has done, is take us away from other things that some might deem to be more important.
‘The day-to-day operations of staff are not known to us, and are not known to the community.’
Cr Woods sought brevity. ‘There are eight pages here of time-consuming frivolous information for me… staff had it under control, negotiations were happening.’
‘Irresponsible and shoddy behaviour’ is how Cr Tucker described making the report on Mr Anderson public.
When asked how much the aerial photos cost that were used in the case, a council staffer said approximately $300.
After the yabber yabber and humbug, Council resolved to have lunch at 12.28pm. Afterwards they resolved to make the report public.
Mr Anderson and Council’s lawyer Ralph James were seen in conversation outside Council chambers afterwards.