Central Coast Labor and independent candidates have criticised measures in a draft code of conduct for central coast councillors as over the top, ahead of tomorrow night's council meeting in Wyong, when the code is set to be endorsed.
The code includes a clause (3.17) that would compel all council staff to file written reports on the nature of any interaction any interaction with a member of the public," including the date, time, nature (face-to-face, phone call, etc) and list of all people involved.
They'd then need to get advice from the CEO or Council leadership team before responding.
Lead Wyong Candidate Kyle MacGregor has called it a ham-fisted attempt at stopping corruption, that will ultimately discourage people from speaking to council staff about the local issues that matter to them.
"(It) means that if you as a councillor bump into someone at the shops, see them at a local sporting event or even talk to a spouse or neighbour, you are required to keep detailed records of this interaction and ‘inform’ on these interactions," Mr MacGregor claimed.
“In my mind this is completely out of line with community expectations of council and the legislative framework regarding privacy, basic human dignity and respect. Confidentiality must be sacrosanct and if we were to apply this disingenuous Draft Code of Conduct, corruption would run rampant, as we have already seen happen with the recent ICAC referral of Gosford Council regarding the illegal waste dumping at Mangrove Mountain and Spencer."
Council Administrator Ian Reynolds has defended the measure as "a reasonable provision", rejecting the notion it make people hesitant to speak with local government representatives.
"In my time as admin I've talked to people at pop-up stalls, and they raise issues all the time about things they'd like to see done in their local area," Mr Reynolds said. "My practice there is to take notes and comments raised so they go into council system, so it's actually a protection for councilors as well."
Mr Reynolds said the code first went before council in May, and was twice deferred for public and internal consultation.
"All councils are required to have a code of conduct. There is a moral code produced by the state government, which is the minimum, and councils can adopt extra provisions if they wish."
"This extra provision... is actually recommended by ICAC, so that was the reason it was recommended by staff to be included."
"The other thing is all new councils are required to review their code of conduct after their first year, so the new council's perfectly at liberty to change it."