I’m fighting for Mathoura, says Weyrich

January 11, 2018

Murray River Council councillor Tom Weyrich talks to about 40 people at his public meeting in Mathoura. Photo: Tyla Harrington

Murray River Councillor Tom Weyrich plans to push forward with a public meeting in Mathoura this month despite believing he was threatened by his council.

The level of discontent with the new council peaked at Mathoura Bowling Club in November when people in the room called for something to change and for the Riverina town to stop being pounded by the ramifications of amalgamation.

Cr Weyrich vowed to hold another meeting in January to report progress back to his people.

‘‘We’ve hit a bit of a snag,’’ Cr Weyrich said.

‘‘I’ve been more or less threatened with a code of conduct breach if I go on with it ... by the mayor (Chris Bilkey).

‘‘What he’s saying is that I should take my concerns to council.

‘‘What I said to that was, ‘well eventually it might wind up at council but at the moment I’m representing the people that elected me’. They’re not happy campers.’’

Cr Bilkey said at ‘‘no time’’ was Cr Weyrich threatened with a code of conduct breach but he was told he was operating outside of the code.

‘‘It was indicated to Cr Weyrich that he was operating outside of the code of conduct by presenting information to the meeting he knew was incorrect,’’ Cr Bilkey said.

‘‘Operating within the code of conduct when presenting at council averts bringing council into disrepute and breaching any code of conduct.’’

Cr Weyrich said it was likely he would go ahead with the meeting anyway.

‘‘It doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s not rocket science and I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel here.

‘‘I’ve put myself in a hard predicament but I probably will go ahead, because believe it or not I am not here for the popularity vote.’’

Cr Bilkey said Cr Weyrich could meet with Mathoura people and ‘‘in doing so uphold the standards of councillor behaviour to which he is committed’’.

‘‘Cr Weyrich did not seek council’s permission or endorsement for either meeting,’’ he said.

‘‘Again, this doesn’t mean that a meeting is inappropriate — what Cr Weyrich says and does at the meeting determines that.’’

Cr Bilkey said after many years’ experience as a councillor, Cr Weyrich was ‘‘fully aware’’ of the correct process to act on information that is received at such a meeting.

‘‘As a minimum it requires a notice of motion for inclusion on the council agenda to debate any issues that may have arisen from the meeting that require an action,’’ he said.

Following the first public meeting, Cr Weyrich put forward a notice of motion which asked his council to ‘‘write to the NSW Premier and Minister for Local Government in the form of a show cause letter asking why this council should not investigate the costs involved in de-amalgamating MRC’’.

It received no support.

A date has not been set for the next Mathoura community meeting.

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