Role of the Mayor
The Mayor is empowered by Local Government Act 1993 (Section 226) to carry out civic and ceremonial functions of the Mayoral office, which include presiding at meetings of the Council.
The Mayor is elected by the majority of Councillors every two years (usually September) at Strathfield Council. Council also elects a Deputy Mayor to act in the Mayor’s absence e.g. chairing meetings, attending ceremonies on behalf of Mayor.
Role of Councillors
The role of Councillors is contained in the NSW Local Government Act 1993 (Section 232). The role of the Councillor is, as a member of the governing body of the Council to:
- direct and control the affairs of the Council in accordance with the Local Government Act
- participate in the optimum allocation of the Council’s resources for the benefit of the area
- a key role in the creation and review of the Council’s policies and objectives and criteria relating to the exercise of the Council’s regulatory functions
- review the performance of the Council and its delivery of services, and the management plans and revenue policies of the Council.
The role of a Councillor is, as an elected person to:
- represent the interests of the residents and ratepayers
- provide leadership and guidance to the community
- facilitate communication between the community and the Council.
Conduct of Councillors
Council has developed a number of policies which set out standards and procedures governing Councillors performance and conduct including meeting conduct, access to facilities and expenses, access to information and interactions with Council staff. These policies are listed below:
Strathfield Council is committed to high standards of ethical behaviour in the care, control and management of the Strathfield Local Government Area. Strathfield’s Councillors, Council staff, volunteers and Council delegates are expected to serve the community with integrity and honesty and deliver services efficiently and impartially.
Councillors, staff, volunteers and delegates are required to observe the highest standards of honesty and loyalty to the Council and avoid any form of conduct that would bring Council, Councillors, staff, volunteers or Council delegates into disrepute.
The Local Government Act 1993 requires every council to adopt a code of conduct that incorporates the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW. Strathfield Council has adopted the Model Code of Conduct with additional requirements specific to Council.
Councillors, employees, volunteers and delegates of Council
Councillors, members of Council staff, volunteers and delegates of the Council must comply with the provisions of Council’s Code of Conduct. It is the personal responsibility of Council officials to comply with the standards in the Code and regularly review their personal circumstances with this in mind. Council’s contractors and business partners are also expected to observe the relevant provisions of Council’s Code of Conduct.
Failure by a Councillor to comply with an applicable requirement of Council’s Code of Conduct constitutes misbehaviour. Failure by a member of staff to comply with Council’s Code of Conduct may give rise to disciplinary action.
Lobbying of Councillors
Independent Commission Against Commission (ICAC) has released a publication on ‘Lobbying Local Government Councillors’. This publication provides guidance on conduct of Councillors in regard to development applications and tendering processes.Lobbying Local Government Councillors ICAC
The minimum and maximum amount of fees payable annually to Councillors is determined on an annual basis by the NSW Local Government Remuneration Tribunal. The tribunal operates independently of Councils. Strathfield Council determines fees in accordance with the tribunal’s recommendations
Council is required by law to determine and publish policy and guidelines for payment of expenses and provision of facilities to the Mayor and Councillors. All expenses and facilities provided to the Mayor and Councillors are set out in this policy.
The NSW Election Funding Authority (EFA) is responsible for administering the provisions of the Election Funding Act 1981. The Authority is responsible for dealing with:
- registration of state and local government candidates and groups of candidates for election funding purposes,
- claims for payment made by registered political parties, candidates and groups of candidates and for the reimbursement of election campaign expenditure at parliamentary elections,
- declarations of political contributions received and electoral expenditure incurred. Declarations are lodged by registered political parties, groups and candidates who contest state and local government elections,
- declarations of electoral expenditure incurred and political contributions received lodged by political donors, and
- claims for payment lodged by registered political parties for the purposes of political education.
For more information visit the NSW Election Funding Authority website.
Councillors are required to make funding declarations in accordance with the Local Government and Planning Legislation Amendment (Political Donations) Act 2008, Local Government Act 1993 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Funding declarations are lodged by Councillors with the Electoral Funding Authority and may be accessed on their website.
The NSW Electoral Commission has established a dedicated enquiry line to assist with information regarding disclosure of political donations returns and electoral legislation. Telephone: 1300 135 736.
Reportable Political Donations
There is a legal requirement to make declarations of donations to councillors relating to planning or development applications and submissions to planning proposals. Click here for further information.
Council’s Code of Conduct and associated policies such as Business Ethics and Volunteers and Community Representatives Policy do not permit Councillors, Council staff, contractors or volunteers to:
- seek or accept a bribe or other improper inducement
- seek gifts or benefits of any kind
- accept any gift or benefit that may create a sense of obligation on their part or may be perceived to be intended to likely to influence them in carrying out their public duty
- accept any gift or benefit of more than token value
- accept an offer of money, regardless of the amount.
It is the policy of Council that staff and councillors must disclose in writing to the General Manager all offers of gifts or benefits, including those of token value. Council maintains a register of gifts and benefits which records all gifts and benefits offered to Council staff or Councillors.
Under no circumstances, should any offer of money (eg bribe or other improper inducement) be made or accepted. Any offer of a bribe must be reported in writing to the General Manager for consideration of appropriate action.