Three former Wyong Councillors, Mr Greg Best, Mr Lloyd Taylor and Mr Adam Troy, have been terminated from the Central Coast Council’s Local Representation Committee (LRC) one month prior to the committee being wound up.
The decision to dismiss three councillors was made in a confidential session of the council meeting on May 24.
The reasons for their dismissal were to remain confidential due to legal privilege and because the contents of the report contained private information about council employees other than councillors.
At the May 24 meeting, Council Administrator, Mr Ian Reynolds, adopted a resolution to wind up the Local Representation Committee from June 30 to give former councillors wishing to run for election to the new Central Coast Council the freedom to campaign from July 1 to the election on September 9.
The other members of the LRC were informed of the termination of their fellow committee members in a brief email from Council CEO, Mr Rob Noble, on May 26.
Wyong Regional Chronicle obtained a copy of the email which stated: “Just wanted to let you know that at the Council meeting…Council decided to terminate the services of former LRC members Greg Best, Lloyd Taylor and Adam Troy.
“As a result Messes Best, Taylor and Troy will not be in attendance at the LRC meeting to be held on June 21.”
After learning of his sacking, Mr Best said he understood his recent pig protest outside Council’s Wyong offices, with his mascot ‘’Porky Pie the Pig’, was the trigger for his dismissal.
“I make no apology for trotting out the truth on things like the Warnervale prison, the amalgamation whitewash and Gosford’s financial crisis.
“Pigs will fly if they think sacking me will save their bacon.
“Porky Pie the pig is a statement synonymous with the community’s utter frustration with our $2000-a-day Administrator, whom I believe is treating ratepayers as nothing more than a piggy bank.
“The Administrator’s iron fisted gagging comes despite the Committee being wound up next month.”
Mr Best said now that he is not bound by the Administrator’s confidentiality gag, he can speak out on other issues “such as the recent alarming staff pay deals agreed to under the cover of Administration.
“These deals will now cost the ratepayer a further $15 million dollars a year.
“Also embedded in the fine print, are provisions for four year Senior Staff Contracts despite the current Council being wound up in just four months.
“Without exception, at the last confidential LRC meeting, members were totally outraged at this contract decision, as a new General Manager will be appointed in months who may well choose a new leadership team.
“The contract payouts could be enormous.”
Mr Best said he has formally called on Local Government Minister Gabriel Upton to explain.
Former Labor Wyong Councillor, Mr Ken Greenwald, said he believed it was appropriate for the LRC to wind up as the election period approached.
“It gave me personally the ability to continue to represent matters for the community, and that was a plus,” Mr Greenwald said.
“What the community needs to think about now is what type of representation they want and need on the new council,” he said.
“This will be a very different beast to the old separate councils and the community will need a council that will ensure that all ratepayers and residents get a fair deal out of the new arrangement, and that any benefits can be seen to be equally shared in all areas of the Central Coast.
“At Wyong, the vote for amalgamation was only carried five against four, the four were the three Labor councillors, of which I was one, and the Independent, Mr Bob Graham.
“I and others, in open debate, pleaded long and hard to the chamber to not agree to an amalgamation.
“If you were one of the five that voted for amalgamation, then you cannot complain later, especially in the press, against what you knowingly voted for.
“There was certainly no gun pointed at our heads at that time, so all you had to do if you did not agree with the proposal, was to put your hand up, as we did to vote no,” he said.
Former independent Gosford Councillor, Ms Gabby Bowles, who has declared she will not stand for election to the new Central Coast Council said: “As for the sacking of three former Wyong Councillors, it’s no surprise, not to them, and I wager not to anyone else who has observed their behaviour.
“It is my belief that former councillor Best was behaving in such a way as to ensure his sacking in order to use it as a soap box from which to launch his re-election campaign and give the perception that he is a champion of the people shot down for speaking up on behalf of the community.
“Mr Best introduced former Wyong Councillor, Mr Carl Veugen, as a long-time friend (to me at the final Central Coast Mariners’ home game of the season) and then claimed Veugen was ‘no friend of mine’ when I questioned him on the running of anti-Gosford councillor ads on local radio.
“Recent newspaper articles trying to position the Save Tuggerah Lakes group from association with former Wyong Mayor, Mr Doug Eaton, are all part of a contrived campaign to ensure Eaton sympathisers are elected to the new council and can help leverage the publicly unpopular Eaton across the line.
“Mr Best, the same man claiming to be the champion of fighting waste and mismanagement, isupported the purchase of airport land with Wyong rate payers’ funds at double the Valuer General’s appraisal.
“He is also the same man who formed part of Doug Eaton’s voting block that supported the sale of land to a Chinese Theme park operator that appears to have disappeared into oblivion without paying.
“Mr Best’s current campaign tone of ‘the poor north’ of the Coast is typical of his divisive tactics to trigger fear and gather Trump-like panicked support against an imaginary enemy that is self-serving and far from being in the best interest of a collaborative, thriving and inclusive Central Coast community.
“I wish much luck to those candidates with genuine intentions of furthering the Central Coast from North to South, and I pray that someone in the media has the gumption to investigate in more detail the true extent of the Best, Eaton, STL web that has wound its tentacles deep into Coast local government over many years with megalomaniac intent,” Ms Bowles said.
Council agenda item 6.1, May 24
Central Coast Council ordinary meeting
Email, May 26
Rob Noble, Central Coast Council
Media release, May 24
Greg Best, former Wyong councillor
Email, Jun 3
Ken Greenwald, former Wyong councillor
Email, Jun 3
Gabby Bowles, former Gosford councillor
Jackie Pearson, journalist