Former councillor breaks gag rule

Former independent Wyong Councillor and Mayor, Mr Greg Best, was still waiting to hear, on Monday, March 27, if he was to be removed from Central Coast Council’s Local Representation Committee.
It is understood that Mr Best’s fate was considered in a confidential session at the Central Coast Council meeting held on Wednesday, March 22.
Mr Best had broken ranks to speak publicly on a number of issues, including the draft accounts of the former Gosford Council, the resort accommodation costs of the Central Coast Council Administrator, Mr Ian Reynolds, and his overall views about the amalgamation.
“It would appear that community pressure has pushed Council into finally revealing the Administrator’s accommodation costs at the Magenta Resort,” Mr Best said on Mr Reynold’s $550 per week Magenta Shores accommodation bill.
“This latest attempt by the Administrator to hose down community outrage does not address the fact that he could easily commute home [to Sydney’s Hills District] as 40,000 Coast residences do daily,” he said.
“Over the 16 months of his Council contract, this accommodation will cost the ratepayers a further $40,000.
“This amounts to the General Rates of almost 40 Ratepayers, and the question remains, could this money be better spent?
“As a former independent Mayor and Wyong Councillor of 21 years, enough is enough.
“For Mr Reynolds to think it’s OK to live in a 5-Star Resort, 45 minutes from home, at the expense of struggling ratepayers, has outraged the community, policy or no policy.
“This out-of-town Administrator is clearly out of touch, and in my view, has failed the pub test on every level.
“I believe he has lost the confidence of the community and the Premier must act to remove him.
“I have referred to the forced amalgamation as a Pig with Lipstick, and make no apology for my frankness.
“As a member of Council’s Local Representation Committee (LRC) advising the Administrator, I am utterly forbidden to speak to the community or make any public comment on anything.
“This gagging charade of former Councillors must end.
“The public have every democratic right to know exactly what is going on with their money, their rates,” he said.
“We now know, eleven months on from the forced amalgamation, that there are massive anomalies with the Gosford books.
“As far back as October 2015, I formally called for a full and independent forensic audit of Gosford’s books ahead of the amalgamation, only to be howled down.
“Now the Gosford Councillors are ducking for cover and ICAC has been informed.
“There now has to be a full and independent investigation in to this sorry state of affairs and Wyong ratepayers should not be paying for any losses.
“So alarming is the largest asset write down in Local Government history, as revealed behind closed doors, that nothing short of a full parliamentary inquiry into this systemic mess will do.
“We cannot trust the bureaucracy to investigate itself.
“It must be a full parliamentary inquiry.”
Mr Best said that prior to the March Council meeting, he had received a letter from Mr Noble suggesting that he should consider resigning from the Local Representation Committee.
He said he had asked Mr Noble for more information and had not heard from Council since receiving the CEO’s letter.

Source:
Media release,
Mar 21, 2017
Ian Reynolds, Central Coast Council
Media statement,
Interview,
Mar 21, 2017
Mar 27, 2017
Greg Best, former Wyong Councillor
Jackie Pearson, journalist

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