Tuesday, September 29, 2015

White Park Equine Facilities to benefit from Sale of Scone Library

by Sue Abbott

The Scone Advocate may have 'gagged' me by not printing my letter in their last week's rag (see my post Secret Sale of Scone Library), but suffice to say it'll take a lot more than that to actually silence me on this subject.

Hmmmm and anyway I wonder what the Fairfax Legal Department (where the Scone Advocate sent my letter) will make of what I wrote on the secret sale of our library ... the truth maybe ... the widespread community sadness ... we'll see.

Notwithstanding there is no getting away from the fact that the town has been angered by the Upper Hunter Shire Council's weasel words and weasel actions, which have left our children, our elders, all of us totally broadsided by the sale of our library and the former council chambers.

There is no library for us anymore ... and it looks mighty like there never will be ... because in a nutshell there are no evident plans for one at this stage.

In the Upper Hunter Shire Council's Finance Committee Agenda, I read that the Finance Committee, comprising of Cr Wayne Bedggood (still mayor after yesterday's vote-for-the-mayor-council-meeting), Cr Kiwa Fisher, Cr Michael Johnsen (current member for Upper Hunter), and Cr Peter Bishop (declaree of insignificant non-pecuniary conflict of interest over sale of library) were notified of their committee meeting to be held last Friday 25 September 2015.

Amongst the many money matters on their agenda, the propoerty disposal of our beaufitul Scone Library was an item ... and here's what it said:
Property Disposal
Monies set aside from the proceeds of the sale of the former Scone Library. Funds are to be used on the future development of White Park Equine Facilities. It is expected the funds will be utilised in conjunction with grant funding during 2014/15 if the grant is forthcoming.

It makes me weep ... and it makes me rage ... and it fills me and many others in the community with many more questions ...

... I mean just for starters and back to the June meeting where the secret sale of the Scone Library was discussed ...

1. Why was Cr Michael Johsen absent from that June meeting and that vote?

2. And more importantly why was Cr Lee Watts absent from that June meeting and that vote when she's so intrinsically involved with the Scone Neighbourhood Resource Centre and would have been acutely aware of the detrimental impact the sale would have on the community?

3. And after reading those June 11 minutes again, and in particular the following section:
Cr Peter Bishop declared a Non Pecuniary Interest insignificant conflict for the reason that he is a
client of the person offering to purchase the property. Cr Bishop advised that he would remain in Chamber and participate in discussion and voting as the conflict would not be relevant to his decision.

... why was Cr Peter Bishop allowed to continue in the 'discussion and voting' of the sale after his declared non-pecuniary conflict of interest?

4. And how is being a client of the purchaser a non-pecuniary conflict of interest rather than a pecuniary conflict of interest?

5. And it's a little bit subjective on his part isn't it that the declared conflict of interest was an insignificant one?

The Scone community is reeling from the reality that we now find ourselves in.

We are a community without a library.

In my opinion, the Upper Hunter Shire Council failed us in their secretive-behind-closed-doors sale of the Scone Library, and many of us in the community today question whether the Upper Hunter Shire Council has forgotten that their first duty is to the Upper Hunter Shire public, and not private interests.

#MassiveMunicipalFail, Upper Hunter Shire Council.

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