Conflicts of interest at meeting

CONFUSION and chaos cluttered the Gladstone Regional Council chambers on Tuesday.

Councillors and officers were subjected to the first council meeting under new Local Government Act rules and regulations where councillors have to declare all material personal interests and conflicts of interest.

The result was a revolving door scenario as councillors dealt with grants to community organisations and so many councillors had to declare MPIs that the chamber was left with no quorum.

Instead of not being able to move the report so the organisations could get their funds, the council passed the report category by category.

Council chief executive officer Graeme Kanofski said clearly there would not have been a quorum.

“We have got specific legal advice covering this procedure,” he said.

“Sorry about the complication, but I didn’t write the legislation.”

Mr Kanofski said the new legislation stated if councillors missed an MPI, they faced a fine and possible dismissal.

Those councillors that had MPIs or COIs had to leave the room while the rest voted to move the category.

In cases where there would still not be a quorum, the remaining councillors had to vote to allow the COIs stay in the room, but have their vote recorded.

Councillors described it as a joke, like musical chairs or revolving doors in the chambers.

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