Pre-meets continue

It is likely the Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board will still meet outside formal meetings for workshops and briefings, the board's chairman says.

At its meeting last week, the board discussed advice from Dunedin City Council corporate services group manager Sandy Graham on the council's position discouraging meetings, other than workshops or briefings to inform members, outside formal meeting times.

Ms Graham advised all decision-making had to be done at publicly-advertised meetings, to ensure transparency.

The Star reported the advice followed complaints about meetings the board held before its formal meetings last year.

Board chairman Bill Feather confirmed that last term the board met informally each month, often before the public meeting, to raise issues for the agenda or be informed by staff or others about the background and current thinking around matters requiring decisions from the board.

The purpose was for members to come to the formal meetings knowledgeable and feeling able to make their own decisions, Mr Feather said.

No motions were passed or decisions made and there was no active debate at such informal meetings. He still believed that was allowed under the legislation.

He believed all community boards and the council held such briefings or workshops, and expected - in the name of efficient use of time at formal meetings and of informed decision-making - the Mosgiel board would continue to do so this year.

All board members were ''certainly'' always invited to attend such meetings, and it was up to members, as with the formal public meetings, whether they attended.

At last week's meeting, new deputy chairman Mark Willis took exception to being told by Ms Graham the board could not meet informally before they were formally installed, but was reassured by Cr Kate Wilson and Mr Feather that workshops and briefings were fine, so long as no decisions were made at them.

Mr Feather said potentially allowing the public to sit in on, but not contribute to, workshops or briefings, could be a way to quell any concerns that people might have about what happens at those meetings.

A round-up of other matters discussed at the meeting will be reported next week.

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