Tempers flare at meeting

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph

Tensions boiled over at the end of the City of Rockingham’s February council meeting last Tuesday night, as Councillor Lee Downham and chief executive Andrew Hammond became embroiled in a heated argument.

Barely moments after official proceedings had come to a close and the public gallery was still emptying, Cr Downham and Mr Hammond were seen to engage in a fiery exchange at the top of the chamber.

The dust-up came after a long and lively council meeting that earlier featured passionate debate on a number of items, including a notice of motion for a review of the planning department.

The notice of motion from Cr Matt Whtifield, which first appeared before the council late last year, was back again, with debate on the item fierce as the likes of Councillor Chris Elliott, Cr Downham, Mayor Barry Sammels and Cr Whitfield all made their points heard.

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The council eventually resolved to direct the chief executive to facilitate a training session from the Department of Local Government representatives outlining the demarcation of roles and responsibilities between councillors and staff, the role and importance of the code of conduct and dealing with constituent inquiries.

The council also requested Cr Whitfield provide the chief executive full details of negative feedback received on the performance of the Planning and Development Service Division.

Earlier in the meeting, councillors voted on the establishment of an advisory committee to give input on the City’s new tourism strategy.

The committee will feature a number of local experts, including Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tony Solin, Rockingham Visitor Centre manager Scott Hewitt and Rockingham Wild Encounters director Aaron Heath.

The council also decided against backing a renewal of approval for Rockingham Montessori School at lots 11, lot 700 and 701 on Mandurah Road.

The next council meeting will take place on March 27.

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