Letter | Impossible to follow these council meetings now

DUE to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still apparently unacceptable for councillors and senior council management to conduct council meetings in the Council Chambers, so they are participating in "virtual meetings" via a software application called "Zoom".

Meetings in Council Chambers are forbidden but out-of-town councillors can attend chambers sitting in the office to attend the meeting.

Quite apart from the technical interruptions to the audio and video streams, the stop/start nature of the meetings due to councillors having to operate Zoom only adds to their dysfunctional nature.

Councillors in outlying villages were struggling to keep up, as were the rest of council and the community when audio and video streams simply vanished in the ether space.

Add to that the underlying friction evident between some councillors and the obvious difficulty the mayor experiences in effectively managing the meetings and the situation is almost impossible to follow.

The fact that council's finance staff are using financial modelling tools that are clearly unreliable smacks of a careless if not negligent approach to its financial planning. Two years in a row boasting the same mistakes, when is enough enough?

Given that the best that the council's general manager can do in response to this situation is to regurgitate the same lame excuses for council's ineptitude used every year for years, residents and ratepayers trying to follow the broadcast of recent meetings of council would doubtless have found it extremely frustrating.

Several residents struggled logging on as there appeared to be a glitch; two Oberon Shire and Ratepayers Association (OSR and RA) committee members were not permitted to view the meeting again. Council blames Zoom; that's easy.

Is it any wonder that residents have expressed a lack of confidence in the financial competence?

How can councillors, let alone residents and ratepayers, have any confidence in any financial reports presented to them by council management in the circumstances? The answer is simple: they can't.

And, on that basis, how can residents and ratepayers have any confidence in the current council?

In the view of the OSR and RA, the answer to that question is also simple: they can't.

Yet another recipe for disaster.

Greg Evans, secretary, OSR and RA