Tumby Bay councillors restored after SACAT hearing

CLEAR: Tumby Bay District Council chief executive officer Rebecca Hayes and mayor Sam Telfer were happy with the outcome from the SACAT hearing. Photo: supplied
CLEAR: Tumby Bay District Council chief executive officer Rebecca Hayes and mayor Sam Telfer were happy with the outcome from the SACAT hearing. Photo: supplied

Tumby Bay District Council's elected members have been restored to their positions following a decision by the South Australian Civil Administration Tribunal (SACAT) on Tuesday about an administration error in 2019.

Elected members, including mayor Sam Telfer were forced to stand aside after the council's chief executive officer Rebecca Hayes discovered two weeks ago annual returns for councillors had not been lodged for the 2019 year, leaving a gap in the record.

A misunderstanding saw newly elected council members lodge primary returns under section 65 of the Local Government Act following the 2018 local government elections, and were excused from lodging ordinary returns.

This matter was referred to SACAT which resolved the matter Tuesday afternoon and ruled all positions would be restored.

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Mr Telfer said it was great to hear SACAT had restored their positions and the elected members could get back to business as usual.

"Council business now continues with our scheduled meeting next week, and we will continue to be constantly reviewing and assessing all processes and policies as we move forward," he said.

"We have many important decisions and matters on the table and it was fortunate that through quick action by SACAT and our staff, we have not been further held up.

"We as councillors were elected by our communities to represent them and make important decisions on their behalf. That is what we have done, and that's what we will continue to do."

Ms Hayes said she was happy to see the outcome of the SACAT hearing, which she described as "quick and straight forward".

She said this whole issue had been a good learning experience for the council and showed how important it was to ensure procedures were done correctly.

"I think it's a good reminder for all councils to ensure their business practices are up to date and they are checking things," she said.

"I'm six months into the job and something like this is a good learning curve.

"(The elected members) have come out of this as a strong group of people."

Ms Hayes once again assured the community this issue did not affect any previous decisions made by the council as under the Local Government Act, all decisions made during that period remain valid.

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