PEOPLE should not be discouraged from standing for Orange City Council if they are unable to attend committee meetings, according to some serving councillors.
Councillor Joanne McRae asked for a report on councillor attendance at council meetings and committee meetings, as well as training undertaken, which revealed some councillors attended a fraction of the committee meetings they were members of.
Committees also include members of the public and consider specific areas, including economic development, traffic and companion animals.
The beauty of local government is anyone can put their hand up and we really shouldn't be restricting it by saying unless you can meet all this criteria, don't run for council.Councillor Jeff Whitton
Cr McRae questioned whether a review was needed on the number of committees.
"We would note that at the beginning of this term, a large number of councillors and members of the public put their hands up for community committees - some of the ones I'm on I know have dwindled in attendance over time," she said.
"If that enthusiasm has waned, at what point do we look at their effectiveness?"
Councillor Stephen Nugent went a step further, saying while some councillors referred to them as optional, they owed community members who volunteered their time the courtesy of attending and if they could not attend, sending apologies.
He said if neither were possible, councillors could consider resigning from the committee.
"One of the pieces of feedback I get from committees I'm on is the frustration members feel when other community members and councillors repeatedly don't turn up to meetings and that frustration is highlighted with apologies are rarely or never sent," he said.
He said people considering standing for the council next September should factor committee attendance into their decision.
However, councillor Jeff Whitton said while the numbers did not lie, some councillors had experienced difficulties in their personal lives and many councillors worked fulltime, but could manage nighttime commitments.
"There's always more to the story than numbers on a piece of paper," he said.
"The beauty of local government is anyone can put their hand up and we really shouldn't be restricting it by saying unless you can meet all this criteria, don't run for council - I think that's wrong to exclude community members because I think that takes away the effectiveness of a local council."
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