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Byron Shire
April 17, 2021

Suspicion and belief

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My suspicion is that the mayor and the senior staff have been helping Michael Lyon become electable as mayor by scripting his PR material. At last week’s Council meeting I lodged the following question:

‘Given that in accordance with well-established principles the Council executive (ie the bureaucracy) should remain at arm’s length from the Council legislature (ie the elected councillors), and must not meddle in politics, is Cr Michael Lyon able to assure the ratepayers that he has not been assisted and will not be assisted, in the lead-up to the September elections, by any member of the Council staff or anyone acting on their behalf in terms of press releases, strategy, negotiations etc, and that he will not otherwise consume Council resources for a private purpose?’

Cr Lyon responded to the effect that he doesn’t and will not use Council resources. I interjected and asked, ‘What about in the past?’, to which he responded by claiming that he hadn’t in the past either. He then went on to rant about councillors, by necessity, having to talk to staff members about Council business. I’d never suggested that ‘arm’s length’ means no conversation, so this is a classic staff misdirection intended to suggest that the question is foolish, so I doubt that his response is all his own work.

As I’m only allowed one question per meeting someone else lodged the following under their own signature, which is legally legit:

‘Given that the mayor remains a member of The Greens and that he does not intend to run for re-election in September, is he able to assure the public that he remains loyal to The Greens in terms of openly supporting their chosen candidate, Duncan Dey, and in terms of preventing any improper electoral cooperation between the staff and former Greens candidate Michael Lyon?’

This question disappeared without a trace and was not brought up at the meeting. Would the mayor stoop so low as to interfere with the process of asking legitimate questions? Well he certainly has resorted to a number of other tricks to avoid transparency and accountability.

I note that leaders who have an unshakeable belief in their own cause do tend to increasingly cut corners, and to impose their views regardless of propriety.

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