Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peta Pinson has withdrawn from the councillor portfolio program.
The mayor in late October advised councillors and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council of her decision not to participate in the portfolio program.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann, as a result, put forward a motion at the November council meeting which recognised that request by seeking to amend the councillor portfolio protocol accordingly.
The motion was carried seven votes to one with Cr Sharon Griffiths voting against.
The council requested the general manager amend the councillor portfolio protocol to remove participation by the mayor, as per the mayor’s recent request.
The general manager was also requested to table the amended councillor portfolio protocol for consideration at the December 2018 council meeting.
Cr Pinson sent an email to councillors in October about the portfolios.
The email said: “I wish to inform you that I have decided that I will no longer be participating in councillor portfolio meetings after briefings as I feel they are not an effective use of my time and do not provide me with any real sense of what is happening in these meetings.
“I recognise that this is a system introduced by you and to you and I respect this is important to you all as councillors.
“I assure you that my intention is to work strategically with you, the general manager, directors, local members and our JO [joint organisation] and regional city partners to ensure we are making the most of each opportunity available.”
Cr Intemann said the other councillors were committed to continuing on with the portfolios.
“We find it hugely useful in terms of engendering teamwork and encouraging good communication with staff,” she said.
Portfolios had proven themselves, Cr Intemann said, with benefits to councillors in all sorts of ways.
She said it was important the portfolio protocol be kept updated.
Cr Geoff Hawkins said no councillor could be totally across everything all the time.
“We need the portfolio system to break up those responsibilities because there is too much information to absorb,” he said.
Cr Griffiths said she was a bit disappointed to see the motion come forward.
The portfolio system, which dates back to late 2012, was introduced to create a hands-on approach for the councillors to build relationships and expertise on specific issues.
The portfolios include major projects, finance, corporate services and information technology, planning, environment and sustainability, and roads and transport infrastructure.
Cr Pinson asked a question about the councillor portfolio system with the answer to come back to a future council meeting.
She asked the general manager to provide advice to the February 2019 council meeting on the resources required, and resultant cost to the council, to operate the councillor portfolio system and provide advice on outcomes achieved from the councillor portfolio structure.
The mayor told the Port News while she respected the council’s resolution about portfolios at the November meeting and she respected portfolios had been important to the previous council, she was committed to working in other areas on behalf of the community and being actively engaged with the community.
Cr Pinson opposed the portfolio program during the mayoral election campaign.
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