Questions about how often Dubbo Regional Councillors are or aren't in the media, and why they do or don't speak out on certain issues sparked a heated discussion between community members and their elected representatives on Facebook.
"I'd like to know why we only ever hear from; or see the mayor Ben Shields in the press," Daily Liberal reader Natalie Bramble-Dunkley asked on the masthead's Facebook page on Friday.
"We elected councillors to be our representatives and our voice, not just the mayor.
"Why aren't we hearing more from all our councillors about topical local...issues? Why is it always the mayors office commenting in the press?
"This is about the lack of diverse views and absence of multiple voices which is a major concern for an elected representative body. It's like saying you're fine with only hearing from the Prime Minister."
In response to the comments Cr John Ryan said he was happy to speak with the media if there was value in doing so.
"This council is incredibly on the same page consensus-wise across most issues, it's far better than any I've seen since I've been in Dubbo when it comes to getting along as a group," he said.
"The fact we're not fighting amongst ourselves, or grandstanding for the spotlight says a lot. A couple of things for the naysayers - they don't bother showing up to meetings and they were never critical of former mayor Mathew Dickerson when he often appeared in the Liberal three times a day in a positive PR story.
"The mayor is a councillor seven days a week, virtually on call at all times whereas the other councillors are very part time and very busy people, often with jobs that don't make it easy for them to take off at a moment's notice for an interview."
READ ALSO: Sanjib's IT career takes off in Dubbo
"You complained for years about councillors fighting and brawling in the media," mayor Ben Shields said in response to Ms Bramble-Dunkley's comments.
"Now for the first time in decades we have a council that's largely driven by consensus. That's a good thing Natalie despite your protests.
"... I will point out this council is doing well at transparency. Despite the objections of previous councils, this one established online web streaming, where on some occasions we have had up to 300 people tune in and watch council live. They directly see their councillors in action.
"Added to that all councillors publish their mobile phone numbers on councils website and are all very approachable.
"The bulk of us are also on social media too.
"Just because we aren't playing public affairs out in the media does not mean anyone has been gagged."
Cr Stephen Lawrence also contributed to the discussion and said one of the main roles of any mayor is the be the spokesperson for the council.
"If you look at the code of conduct councillors actually aren't allowed to comment whenever they want on council related issues. There's a bit of grey but basically the mayor is the spokesperson.
"That said, I'm in the media a fair bit, sometimes as chairperson of two standing committees and sometimes because I have been asked to be a council spokesperson on issues...councillors big chance to be in the media is really through speaking in council meetings during debate or discussing in the media why they voted as they did. Something I do regularly."