In response to Kevin Greene's comments at the Save Historic Glenlee rally on Saturday the June 12, I would like to respond by saying 1675 signatures on the save Historic Glenlee petition indicates it is something that people care about and it has meaning.
Mark Coure, who endorsed the petition, responded to Community sentiment by making a speech in Parliament to save Historic Glenlee.
I believe the Georges River council have not openly acknowledged the significance of Glenlee's Aboriginal and European heritage. From Kevin Greene's speech, it seemed clear that the Council would not be applying for funding from the government or act in any way to save Historic Glenlee.
Action by the Minister for Local Government against certain Councillors on Georges River Council is long overdue, but unfortunately, the Notice of Intention to issue a Performance Improvement Order is a slap in the face for those Councillors who have been doing the right thing and persistently calling out "poor and inappropriate behaviour" (in the words of the Minister herself).
Many of us have been bravely standing up against this poor behaviour for over two years now in the face of repeated bullying, harassment, and coordinated online abuse. I have been screaming from the rooftops for the Office of Local Government to intervene. Yet, their response in June 2019, after we referred allegations of corruption to them for investigation, stated "(the information does not, on its face, indicate a breach of the standards set out in Council's code of conduct pertaining to dealing with pecuniary interests, political donations or maintaining the integrity of the code". I note that while the OLG felt there was insufficient evidence, the ICAC disagreed, and these allegations are currently under investigation, as publicly advised by ICAC in December 2020.
To say I feel let down by the OLG and the Minister is an understatement. Minister Hancock had the perfect opportunity to take decisive action against the two Councillors named in the Minister's proposed Order. Yet unfortunately, her Notice appears to spread the blame evenly, regardless of the strong actions some of us have tried to take.
Since December 2020, I've repeatedly called on certain Councillors to voluntarily stand aside from Council until the ICAC investigation is completed. My motion was lost three times as the majority of Councillors felt that they should remain on Council and be able to participate in meetings and continue to vote on matters. Councillors who have repeatedly voted to enable the two Councillors under investigation to remain in the Chamber now have a case to answer, and I look forward to hearing their justifications as part of the Council's response to the Minister.
I feel partially vindicated, as now the Minister agrees with me and intends to ban those Councillors under investigation from attending meetings where the investigation is discussed. This is a good start, but in my view, Councils need the power to force any Councillor under investigation by ICAC to stand aside. This is in line with community expectations.
Had the OLG taken our concerns seriously back in 2019, we wouldn't be in this position today. The reputation of Georges River Council, its staff, and those Councillors prepared to call out bad behaviour wouldn't be called into question by the Minister's Notice.
I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank Councillors who have supported me and have bravely stood up to the "pattern of poor and inappropriate behaviour" we have witnessed over the last few years. Had we received the support of the OLG in 2019, we would be in a very different position today.
Sandy Grekas, Independent Councillor - Georges River Council.
I am responding to Gary Sullivan regarding barking dogs (June 9, 2021)
Yes, indeed, the constant noise of a stressed dog being abandoned in the back yard, the front yard is absolutely worse. To the owners of barky dogs, let me tell you this is not a joyous sound but a sound of anxiety and unhappiness. For those of us that are sensitive to excessive white noise, you do have the option of controlling this.. owners, walk your dog.. train your dog.. keep it in the back yard. I don't like being barked at, nor does my dog.. this is not your dog being friendly, but it yelling at me in dog language. Get a dog pen so the dog feels safe and does not feel he has to guard your stupid backyard. But Gary, keep going to ask your neighbours to at least not let their dog run between the house. Ask them to keep it in from sunset to sunrise. When it is barking, go and talk to it, or just tell it to shut the f**k up.
Max Murray, Hurstville
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