The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Toowoomba Regional Council - Mayor and Councillors throw absolute hissy fit at Cr Cahill's charity donation ...

4350water blog said that privately the Mayor and other Councillors would be steaming at Councillor's Cahill's decision to donate his bonus to charity.

Seems they couldn't keep their views private -  letting rip at Councillor Cahill in the Chronicle, thus ensuring the community thinks they are just angry because they got caught stuffing ratepayers' money into their pockets ...

Colleagues turn hostile over donation

29 January 2009

The Chronicle

Toowoomba Regional Councillor Bill Cahill's decision to donate his entire $20,000 amalgamation bonus to charity has sparked
a hostile and defensive reaction from fellow councillors.

Councillors yesterday labelled Cr Cahill's act of charity as “flashy”, “grandstanding” and “beating his own drum”.

On Tuesday, councillors formally voted to give themselves a 9.4% pay rise, ignoring staff recommendations that they accept a 4% increase.

Mayor Peter Taylor's pay packet rose 14% to $156,894 plus benefits.

Councillor Noel Strohfeld yesterday questioned the timing of Cr Cahill's donation decision, made after councillors formally voted to secure their controversial pay rises.

“I am surprised that if he felt that strongly that he didn't make any comments at the meeting where it could have been discussed,” Cr Strohfeld said.

“From my point of view, for the 27 years I've been involved in local government,
money has never been the object of what I do.

“I support the community and I won't name the figure because I don't think it's appropriate.

“But a quite sizeable portion of what I have earned in local government has made its way back into the community in some way, shape or form.

“I don't believe in flashy statements and flashy shows."

“You don't need to beat a drum to say you are doing things for the community.”

Councillor Ros Scotney said her community donations were done privately.

If someone would like to go through my cheque book when I was Mayor of the Pittsworth Shire Council and count up my donations to the Pittsworth community, it would be a very substantial amount.

“And I will continue to do that.

“If Cr Cahill wishes to be a grandstander, he can be.”

Cr Anne Glasheen told The Chronicle: “If or when I decide to donate to a charity, it won't make the front page of the paper.”

Mayor Peter Taylor said that Cr Cahill's decision to donate part of his salary was his personal choice.

“I regularly make donations. But
I won't be seeking any publicity when I make a donation and I suggest that most members of the public don't either,” Cr Taylor said.

Cr Joe Ramia said Cr Cahill was a very generous man.

“Good luck to him and I'm glad the charity got the money.

“That's up to him, that's his money and I'll do what I want with mine.

“I don't want my photo on the front page of The Chronicle.”

Cr Peter Marks, who sits next to Cr Cahill at meetings, said the donation to Teen Challenge was a good choice of organisation.

Cr Mike Williams said: “Good on Bill for making a donation. It's a good cause.

“You'll find, like most other councillors, my wife and I make donations to charities and community groups through our business but we don't make noise about it.”

Cr John McVeigh also said that he and his wife made regular donations, but they had always chosen to not make them public.

Cr Carol Taylor said she and her husband's charitable donations were kept private.

Cr Paul Antonio said: “During my career in Local Government, I have continually supported charities as a matter of personal choice.”

If Cr Cahill wishes to be a grandstander, he can be.

"But we make donations!"  "If could see our cheque book you'd know just how much."

Sorry, too little too late.  You were caught with your hands firmly in ratepayers' pockets and when one Councillor chose to do the right thing in the circumstances, you were all caught out.

Welcome to the NRL all those Councillors who still think they're playing in little league ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when did Joe Ramia not want his photo on the front page of the Chronicle?

10:03 AM, January 29, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the split in their closed ranks has appeared.

11:38 AM, January 29, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All we need to see now is a debate over the coal seam water and how it can be used.
There is plenty of it going begging and they only have to deal with a small salt problem and we get the water we need.

This water has 1/10th of the salt of sea water and other countries deal with the "problem" very easily so why can't we?

It would be interesting to see them air their knowledge of recycled water ( processed sewage) and then we could see who wants it and who thinks as the majority of the community.

12:06 PM, January 29, 2009

Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

It's a good point.

The salt waste is not a small problem though. Its disposal is a stumbling block but it will need to be solved if the coal seam gas industry is to move forward in Qld.

And Anna Bligh needs the jobs it would create more than ever.

12:38 PM, January 29, 2009

Anonymous watchful said...

Oh boy - we all thought that the problems at City Hall would go away with the election of a completely new Council. Not so. They have all been caught with their hands in the till. Cr Cahill has sought to redeem himself by giving his extra funds to a Charity. However the money was sourced from the funds of the Toowoomba ratepayers. The other Councillors are livid at him for breaking ranks. What they fail to realise is the damage they have done to their image and we all know what happened to the last Council when they did not represent the ratepayers fairly.
Money obtained unfairly is a very sore point with ratepayers when they are struggling to meet ever rising costs in regard to housing. We can only hope that there are plenty of honest potential candidates for the next Council. It is the CEO and his staff that really do the work. The Councillors are only figureheads and perhaps risk becoming irrelevant in future.

5:23 PM, January 29, 2009

Anonymous Humbug said...

This community has been through so much in the past three years in regard to forced Amalgamations, strict water guidelines and the threat of having to drink recycled sewerage held over their heads, not to mention fluoridation. The previous Council would not do their job of investigating the possibility of the coal seam gas water as they had their own agenda of wanting sewerage water for this community. Now the coal seam water is being hailed as the saviour of the Darling Downs by both Council and the State Govt. Methinks that the Wivenhoe Pipeline is not being built to bring recycled sewerage water up here at enormous cost and expense (say double the $187million quoted) but to pipe the coal seam gas water to Wivenhoe. Why cannot the Authorities come clean and stop lying to us about the reason for the pipeline? It seems to me that politicians naturally lie about everything to protect their own interests - i.e. generous pensions, Govt cars, salaries, postage allowance and everything else they can get away with.

5:31 PM, January 29, 2009

Anonymous newswatch said...

The Chronicle:

Former mayor pours heat on new council

29th January 2009

FORMER Mayor Clive Berghofer has labelled the new Toowoomba Regional Council “extravagant” and incapable of making important decisions.

Mr Berghofer, who served 20 years on the city council including 11 years as mayor, has described the council's decision to spend more than $1 million on consultants as a “cop-out”.

“They're spending almost $1 million to do a study on the CBD when there have been dozens of studies done in the past.

“How can you spend $900,000 on a bit of paper? There are no materials involved, just labour.

“And spending $100,000 to lobby the government on the second Range crossing - that's their (councillors') job.

“They should be doing the lobbying and not paying someone else to do it for them.

“When I was mayor, I wasn't frightened to make decisions.

“And if I was wrong, I was prepared to get a kick in the bum for it.

“They don't want to make decisions.

“They are not game and not capable.”

Mr Berghofer said councillors had abrogated responsibility.

“Now you can't blame the mayor (Peter Taylor) because he will say that they (the council) didn't make the decision.

“It's a big cop-out in my opinion.”

Mr Berghofer said that as mayor, (from 1982 to 1993) he didn't want his annual $20,000 salary and donated all of it to charity.

He admitted he was wealthy before he was elected and said that he did not want to take ratepayers' money.

Mr Berghofer said he used his own car and did not leave ratepayers to foot the bill for his expenses.

“I think it is an honorary position (to be elected as Mayor).

“I wanted to do something to make this city thrive - not to see how much money I could get out if it.

“Some of the extravagance that is going on, like the $250,000 flagpole . . . it's just frightening.

“At the end of the day, it's the little bloke at the bottom who is the one who is getting hurt.

“It's his rates that are going up”.

Mr Berghofer also criticised council's decision not use Toowoomba consultants, sending more than $1 million of ratepayer's money out of the city.

“This council has to get more accountable,” he said.

“You've only got to talk to people to see how unhappy they are with the whole thing.”

Some of the extravagance that is going on, like the $250,000 flagpole . . . it's just frightening.

10:12 PM, January 29, 2009

Anonymous newswatch said...

The Chronicle:

Consultants line up for $1m

29th January 2009

TOOWOOMBA Regional Council has spent more than $1 million employing out-of-town consultants to carry out work on behalf of councillors.

Consultants Urbis will pocket $864,017.50 of ratepayers' money to compile a master plan for the CBD. This figure has blown out by $364,017.50 as council had allocated $500,000 in the 2008/2009 budget for the report.

Councillors voted on Tuesday to dip into the 2009/2010 budget to fund the significant shortfall.

Council's second costly decision made this month includes paying national communication firm The Phillips Group $53,132 to coordinate a $34,500 campaign to lobby the Federal Government to fund the Toowoomba bypass.

The decision has attracted criticism from community members, who believe it is councillors' job to lobby the government for important local projects.

Rehbein AOS Airport Consulting Services have been paid $33,260 to conduct a Toowoomba Airport regular passenger transport feasibility study. This fee includes a telephone survey, telephone discussions with potential airline carriers, an aerodrome inspection and further study.

Council also last month employed national firm Hudson to recruit a new chief executive officer. Council yesterday refused to disclose this contract amount.

All figures do not include GST, which pushes the total well passed the $1 million mark.

CBD Master Plan (Urbis)…$864.017.50

Bypass lobbying (The Phillips Group)…$53,132

Airport feasibility survey (Rehbein)…$33,260

CEO recruitment…n/a

10:14 PM, January 29, 2009


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