Marquart attends fewest briefings of ward councillors
Gosford West ward's Cr Troy Marquart has attended the fewest council briefings of the three councillors who represent the Peninsula.
He has attended 15 briefings of a possible 46.
Cr Chris Holstein and Cr Richard Mehrtens have attended more than double that number - both have attended 36 briefings.
But Cr Marquart, a Liberal, has defended his record, saying modern technology means he can be across all detail garnered at briefings and that he has never and will never shirk his council responsibilities.
"In the year 2019, technology allows many communication outlets and the talented Central Coast Council staff have created instruments to ensure all councillors have all the briefing information," Cr Marquart said.
"All briefing presentations are posted onto the councillor internet cloud hub and we have access to all council team leaders during business hours to ask any viable questions, via our provided council support telephone number.
"This allows all councillors to be fully briefed at all times and allows staff to clear up any ambiguities that may remain after the briefing information is considered, no matter where we may be."
Cr Marquart said residents voted for vast range of individuals to represent them in the local chamber.
"Some councillors work part time, some councillors are unemployed outside the councillor position and some councillors are the managing directors of businesses," he said.
"Some councillors are single. Some are divorced and some are married with three children.
"This absolute diversity offers the differing opinions required to insure all Central Coast residents are represented.
"Personally I am the managing director of a company that employees up to 20 Central Coast residents.
"I have an amazing wife and three perfect sons.
"I offer representation in the chamber for residents that believe in small business and the importance of family.
"I travel extensively to accommodate my company, but I never fail my responsibilities as a councillor, technology and the system implemented by our fine council staff insures that I have briefing information at my fingertips.
"While attending actual briefings physically is important, it is not an imperative and a large briefing attendance number next to a particular councillor's name does not confirm that this individual is a productive councillor.
"It purely notes that they possess more free time than others.
"If the ultimate score card was based upon attendance only, then the chamber would be littered with unemployed or casually employed individuals, with very limited life experience."
For the first year of the new council, no attendance records were kept for 16 briefings held up to September 2018.
But from October 2018, individual attendances at the 46 briefings were recorded.
Cr Kyle MacGregor (ALP) asked in March for the attendance record to be made public.
Cr Marquart said Cr MacGregor's reasons were known only to himself but he assumed his intention was to try to raise his personal profile and denigrate other councillors.
Cr MacGregor told the Peninsula News he asked because he believed it was in the public's interest to know which councillors worked collaboratively with staff and took the time to inform themselves and engage in good governance processes and those who do not.
"The issue has been raised with me by multiple people over the past couple of years and I thought it prudent to ask and reveal the attendances to the public which clearly reveal a pattern of behaviour and explanation for some of the behaviour we see in the chamber on a regular basis from those who choose not to attend our weekly briefings, site inspections and sessions with staff," Cr MacGregor said.
The Mayor, Cr Jane Smith (independent) has attended the most briefings: 44.
Cr Mehrtens (ALP) said he was disappointed by comments made by fellow councillors at the May 27 meeting about their disregard for briefings.
"I think briefings are an important part of being a councillor and provide vital information related to decisions we need to make in the Chamber," he said.
"To disregard briefings so flippantly is a great concern."
Central Coast Council agenda 6.4, 27 May 2019
Media Statements, 4 June 2019
Richard Mehrtens, Central Coast Council
Troy Marqart, Central Coast Council
Kyle MacGregor, Central Coast Council