Our Say: Questions on Riley affair will not go away

Will members of the community (also known as ratepayers and voters) ever get answers to the list of questions surrounding the termination of Dubbo Regional Council general manager Mark Riley?

They certainly have plenty of queries judging by posts on the Daily Liberal’s Facebook page and other social media, conversations in civic, political and business circles, and even around office water-coolers.

The key question is the big WHY?

What was the reason that led to a group of councillors meeting Mr Riley last Thursday to discuss his departure?

Mayor Ben Shields and most other councillors involved have not commented on the  affair saying they are bound to silence by the councillors’ Code of Conduct, which blocks them from talking about employee matters.

But, it should not block them from answering questions regarding the process.

Which of them first raised the issue of termination? When? Where? With which councillors was it discussed?

On such an important issue, why weren’t all 10 councillors involved from the outset? From the few comments made by some councillors, it is clear not all were consulted beforehand. Why were some still left out of the loop as late as Thursday when Mr Shields and others set things in motion?

One of those out of the loop was Kevin Parker, who later said the council was not a cohesive unit.

Is this to be the run of play on future council issues? Do the councillors that ran as the Shields team in the election plus the two who helped vote him in as mayor decide and implement measures without talking to the other elected representatives? Just because they have the numbers?

What about transparency and good governance?

It is highly unusual for a local MP to make statements questioning the actions of a council. Troy Grant was prompted to do so because of the community uncertainty and demand for information over the affair.

There is no suggestion of wrong-doing or incompetence by Mr Riley.

The big WHY? must be answered and the community reassured.

Given the councillors seem to be limited by the Code of Conduct, perhaps the answers the community wants can be established and provided by an outsider.

The Local Government Minister and her department would be obvious choices.