Can’t argue with this!





Shellharbour councillors to receive laptops and smartphones


BY CHRIS PAVER – Illawarra Mercury


17 Aug, 2011 04:00 AM


Shellharbour City Council candidates Shane Cook and Kellie Marsh welcomed a policy that would give the city’s new councillors access to smartphones. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Elected officials in Shellharbour will be armed with internet-enabled laptops and smartphones as the city takes a step towards a more tech-savvy council.

Shellharbour City Council administrator David Jesson last night encouraged the city’s future leaders to embrace the digital communication tools.

“We’re moving into a world of new technology, and we want to make sure that all those opportunities are embraced to the extent that the incoming councillors want to embrace them,” Mr Jesson said.

“It encourages ease of communication not only with the community, but also with the council’s organisation and between councillors.”

Wollongong City Council adopted a similar approach last month.

Mr Jesson said the revised expenses and facilities policy, adopted at last night’s council meeting, was among a number of changes introduced while the city was under administration to support good governance.

The policy, which takes effect with the new council, also introduces a new dispute resolution process.

Disputes over expenses will be settled by the general manager.

Mr Jesson also emphasised his expectation that all new councillors would participate in the council’s induction process and ongoing professional development.

The former council was sacked in 2008 after a public inquiry found it to be dysfunctional.

Commissioner Richard Colley found some councillors did not fully understand their roles and responsibilities.

After the election, Shellharbour’s new councillors will set their own pay packets at anywhere between $7550 and $16,640.

The mayor will receive an additional payment between $16,080 and $36,320, plus the use of a car.

Each councillor will receive a laptop with 3000Mb monthly allowance and a smartphone, with bills capped at $250 per month.

Councillors will be compensated up to $100 per day for out-of-pocket expenses while at conferences.

Council candidates yesterday said access to smartphones would improve representation.

About Brian Pember

Warilla, NSW, Australia View all posts by Brian Pember

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