Georges River Councillors to spend $25,000 adding their names to plaques

Let history judge: Georges River Council will spend $25,000 updating brass plaques across the local government area to include councillors' names.This plaque installed by the former Hurstville Council at Oatley has been damaged by vandals. It is not one of the plaques to be updated.
Let history judge: Georges River Council will spend $25,000 updating brass plaques across the local government area to include councillors' names.This plaque installed by the former Hurstville Council at Oatley has been damaged by vandals. It is not one of the plaques to be updated.

Georges River Council will spend almost $25,000 updating brass plaques across the local government area to list all the councillors' names.

Only the mayor and the general manager's names have been included on plaques since the merger of Kogarah and Hurstville councils to create Georges River Council .

But council staff will now update all plaques that have been unveiled during its current term to include all councillors.

The funding for the retrospective replacement of the plaques will be borrowed from the council's Library Assets budget to be paid back by councillors from their ward discretionary funds on July 1.

The council resolved last August to include all councillors' names on plaques for new buildings.

The council was adopting its amended amended Georges River Place Naming Policy at the December 16 council meeting when deputy mayor Con Hindi spoke in support of retrospectively replace the the place naming plaques to include all the councillors.

Kogarah and Hurstville councils had the policy including councillors' names, he said.

"But it may have changed during the administration period when instead of councillors names plaques only named the administrator and the general manager. Since the new council it has become the mayor and the general manager.

"Now it is unfortunate that we may have to go back and do that to be able to put councillors names on those projects. With all due respect to the mayor and the general manager, they are not just the ones who voted for it to ensure those projects were done. It was all the councillors who voted for it. It is good to have your name on it, to show you have been one of the councillors involved."

But Mayor Kevin Greene disagreed.

"I think the community is more concerned with the provision of quality infrastructure than whose name is on a plaque," Councillor Greene said.

Cr Hindi said he knew it was a lot of money particularly when the council is asking people to tighten their belts, but added that if every councillor put in $1000 from their ward discretionary fund (money set aside for councillors to allocate to projects in their particular ward) then it could be done.

"There is no need to replace every single plaque," he said. "Just replace (plaques for) the main things we have done; the pavilion, the Norm "O'Neill cricket Centre, the foreshore, the synthetic grass at Penshurst - not some little park with a plaque on a rock that no-one ever sees."

Fifteen plaques will need to be replaced at a cost of $1600 each.

Councillor Sam Elmir supported Cr Hind's motion.

"Each and every councillor has been elected by the public to make decisions," he said. "These decisions are made by all of us and this is I believe part of history."

But Cr Warren Tegg opposed the retrospective renaming of the plaques.

"I don't think it is a good use of ratepayers money," he said.

"We should be spending our ward funds on upgrading our wards so that they are nicer for residents.

"I don't know anyone out there who would think their ward would be improved by a brass plaque with my name on it."

Cr Hindi said he knew it was not a popular motion.

"This is part of history," he said. "We have done so many projects and we should be proud of what we have done.

"You put plaques because it is part of history so people can remember."

The amendment was supported eight votes to seven.

Voting to include councillors' s names on the plaques: Deputy mayor Con Hindi and Councillors Stephen Agius, Sam Elmir, Rita Kastanias, Lou Konjarski, Nancy Liu and Christina Wu.

Voting against: Mayor Kevin Greene and Councillors Vince Badalati, Sandy Grekas, Kathryn Landsberry, Leisha Payor, Colleen Symington and Warren Tegg.