NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

 

 

Ordinary Council Meeting - 03 November 2011

 

LATE AGENDA                                                                                        Page

 

         

  

8        General Manager Report

8.15   September 2012 Local Government Elections   

 

 

       


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                               3 November 2011

General Manager's Report

ITEM 8.15    SF1668            031111         September 2012 Local Government Elections

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:     Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

The Local Government Act 1993 has been amended to return responsibility for administering elections, constitutional referendums and polls to general purpose councils.  If councils prefer, they can engage the services of the New South Wales Electoral Commission to administer the September 2012 elections on their behalf.  A resolution to this effect must be made by 30 November 2011.

 

In the circumstances that the NSW Electoral Commission has refused to provide any assistance whatsoever in the conduct of the election unless they are appointed to the role, the Council simply does not have the capacity to conduct the election itself.  Accordingly Council should engage the New South Wales Electoral Commission to administer the September 2012 elections.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1        Council appoint the NSW Electoral Commission to undertake the 2012 Council election.

 

2        Council advise the NSW Electoral Commission that it would be interested in sharing a Returning Officer with Bellingen and/or Kempsey Shire Councils as a means of reducing the cost of the election.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Council has no real option in relation to the conduct of the 2012 Council election.

 

In appointing the NSW Electoral Commission to conduct the 2012 Council election there may be an option to reduce costs by sharing a Returning Officer with an adjoining Council.  There has been a discussion to this effect with the General Manager of Bellingen Council.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

The Local Government Act 1993 has been amended to return responsibility for administering elections, constitutional referendums and polls to general purpose councils.  If councils prefer, they can engage the services of the New South Wales Electoral Commission to administer the September 2012 elections on their behalf.  A resolution to this effect must be made by 30 November 2011.

 

Following a meeting on 26 July involving the Mayor, Acting General Manager and Electoral Commission staff, confirmation was sought from the NSW Electoral Commission that their fee for conducting the 2012 election would be no more than that charged in 2008 plus the cumulative CPI from 2008 to 2012.  The letter to the Electoral Commission is attached.

 

The Electoral Commissioner provided a general response dated 5 August, presumably issued to all Councils.  A copy of that response is attached.

 

Following receipt of the letter the NSW Electoral Commission was again pressed to provide a quote or upper limit fee.  The email is attached.

 

The Electoral Commissioner provided a response which is attached.

 

In summary it seems unlikely that Council will receive a firm quotation or upper limit costing for the conduct of the 2012 election.  This makes it impossible to compare the service proposed by the NSW Electoral Commission with other options being a Council run election or alternatively a tender by one or a group of Councils to conduct the election.

 

The possibility of conducting a group tender was discussed by the Mid North Coast General Managers on 5 August.  However without assistance from the NSW Electoral Commission, the documentation and assessment of a tender by a lead Council is a major task which has to be completed in a very limited time.

 

The Hunter Councils procurement company has decided to proceed with a tender but it will not be completed by the 30 November 2011 deadline.  Whilst the Local Government and Shires Associations have sought the support of the Premier to extend the 30 November deadline this had not occurred at the date of preparing this report.  Further the NSW Electoral Commission has refused to participate in any tender.  An offer by the Hunter Councils company to join in the tender has been declined on the grounds that it would not be completed by the 30 November deadline and that the NSW Electoral Commission would not participate.

 

The approach which is being taken by the Electoral Commissioner seems to be the offer of their services on an “all or nothing” basis.  This is a valid commercial approach if you are operating in a competitive environment, but equally in such an environment the Council as the customer should be entitled to a fixed upper limit cost or at least a firm quote.  Council would normally be subject to censure if it were to enter into a contract or agreement with a service provider who refused to provide a price for a job until after it was done.

 

If Council were to conduct the election itself it would need to engage the services of a Returning Officer.  However legally the General Manager takes all responsibility for the conduct of the election notwithstanding that he/she cannot fulfil the role of Returning Officer.  This puts the General Manager in a difficult position of being legally responsible but without having any operational authority.

 

In the circumstances that the NSW Electoral Commission has refused to provide any assistance whatsoever in the conduct of the election unless they are appointed to the role, the Council simply does not have the capacity to conduct the election itself.  Accordingly Council should engage the New South Wales Electoral Commission to administer the September 2012 elections.

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

There has been consultation with the NSW Electoral Commission, the Mid North Coast Group of Councils, the Local Government and Shires Associations, Hunter Councils Inc., and the General Manager of Bellingen Council.

 

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

There are no implications for the environment.

 

Social

 

There are no social implications.

 

Economic

 

There are no economic implications.

 

Risk

 

Appointing the NSW Electoral Commission to undertake the 2012 elections is the option with the lowest risk.

 


FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

The initial quote from the NSW Electoral Commissioner for the 2008 election was $93,400.  However the final cost was $112,400.  The Electoral Commissioner has indicated that the indicative cost of the 2012 election will be the final cost of the 2008 election plus compounding CPI.  Assuming an average CPI of 3% over the past 4 years this will mean the indicative cost of conducting the 2012 election will be $126,507.

 

Council has an internal reserve for funding the 2012 election.  The reserve will have a balance of $97,100 as at 30 June 2012.  Therefore Council will likely have to find an additional $15,000 in its 2012/2013 budget to fund the election.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

There is no impact on working funds.

 

Attachments:

1View

21339/2011 - Response in relation to Electoral Commission meeting

 

2View

21822/2011 - Additional Electoral Office information

 

3View

21952/2011 - Further request

 

4View

22204/2011 - Election Costs 2012

 

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 3 November 2011

September 2012 Local Government Elections

 

Enquiries to:     Mr Michael Coulter

Phone No:        02 6568 0200

Our Ref:          SF1668

 

 

 

9 August 2011

 

 

 

Mr Colin Barry

Electoral Commissioner

NSW Electoral Commission

 

Email:  helen.robinson@elections.nsw.gov.au

 

 

Dear Mr Barry

 

BRIEFING BY NSW ELECTORAL COMMISSION STAFF ON THE 2012 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

 

On Tuesday 26 July 2011 Electoral Commission staff, Mr Greg Copson and Ms Amber Dodds-McNally met with the Mayor, Cr Rhonda Hoban and the Acting General Manager, Mr Paul Gallagher. 

 

The Electoral Commission staff provided considerable detail about the tasks and responsibility that Council would accept in conducting the elections but on the other hand could not commit to a cost estimate for the NSW Electoral Commission to conduct the 2012 Election.

 

So that Council may properly consider the two alternatives, you are requested to confirm that the fee to be charged by the NSW Electoral Commission will be no more than that charged in 2008 plus the cumulative CPI from 2008 to 2012.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

 

MICHAEL COULTER

GENERAL MANAGER

 

MAC:lrh


Ordinary Council Meeting - 3 November 2011

September 2012 Local Government Elections

 



Ordinary Council Meeting - 3 November 2011

September 2012 Local Government Elections

 

From:Michael Coulter[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=MICHAELC]

To:'Helen.Robinson@elections.nsw.gov.au'[SMTP:Helen.Robinson@elections.nsw.gov.au]

Cc:Lorraine Hemsworth[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=Lorraineh]

Cc:Mayor[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=Mayor]

Received-Date:20110810

Received-Time:10:04:35 PM

Sent-Date:20110810

Sent-Time:10:04:35 PM

Subject:Briefing by NSW Electoral Commission Staff

 

Helen

 

We would still like a written quote or some written assurance that the cost of conducting the 2012 election will not exceed the cost of the 2008 election plus the compounding CPI for the intervening period.  The letter from the Electoral Commissioner dated 5 August doesn't do this.

 

I appreciate your cost drivers but this Council has to manage within a 2.8% rate peg and funds are very tight.  Just to achieve a $48,000 deficit budget this year we had to make 3 staff redundant from our total workforce of 120.  A major issue for us was a 35% increase in our required contribution to the Rural Fire Service - about $75,000 per year or 1% of our budget.

 

My elected Council are understandably wary of entering into any agreement where you are unable to specify an upper price limit for the provision of the service.

 

Michael Coulter

General Manager

Nambucca Shire Council

PO Box 177 Macksville NSW 2447

Ph:(02)65680200 Mob:0409153788 Fax:(02)65682201

michael.coulter@nambucca.nsw.gov.au

 

 

  _____  

 

From: Lorraine Hemsworth

Sent: Thursday, 11 August 2011 7:32 AM

To: 'Helen Robinson'

Cc: Michael Coulter

Subject: RE: Briefing by NSW Electoral Commission Staff

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning Helen

 

 

 

Thank you for your advice regarding letter dated 5 August 2011.  Yes it was received by Council yesterday thank you very much.

 

 

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

Lorraine Hemsworth

 

Executive Assistant

 

Nambucca Shire Council

 

PO Box 177  MACKSVILLE  NSW  2447

 

Ph: (02) 6568 0213 Fax: (02) 6568 2201

 

Email: lorraine.hemsworth@nambucca.nsw.gov.au

 

Web: www.nambucca.nsw.gov.au

 

  _____  

 

From: Helen Robinson [mailto:Helen.Robinson@elections.nsw.gov.au]

Sent: Wednesday, 10 August 2011 4:54 PM

To: Lorraine Hemsworth

Subject: RE: Briefing by NSW Electoral Commission Staff

 

 

 

Good Afternoon Lorraine

 

 

 

In relation to your email and attached letter from your General Manager, I advise that a letter dated 5 August 2011 was sent to Nambucca Shire Council regarding costs for the 2012 Local Government Elections.

 

 

 

Please advise if this has not been received and I shall email a copy.

 

 

 

Regards

 

Helen

 

 

 

Helen Robinson

 

Executive Assistant

 

NSW Electoral Commission

 

Level 25, 201 Kent Street

 

Sydney NSW 2000

 

 

 

Postal Address: GPO Box 832, Sydney NSW 2001

 

 

 

Direct:  (02) 9290 5910

 

Fax:     (02) 9290 5949

 

Switch: (02) 9290 5999

 

Enquiries: 1300 135 736

 

Website: www.elections.nsw.gov.au

 

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

This message is intended for the addressee named and may contain confidential information.  If you are not the intended recipient, please delete it and notify the sender.  Views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender and are not necessarily the views of the NSW Electoral Commission, Election Funding Authority or the Electoral Commissioner.

 

 

 

  _____  

 

From: Lorraine Hemsworth [mailto:Lorraine.Hemsworth@nambucca.nsw.gov.au]

Sent: Wednesday, 10 August 2011 4:32 PM

To: Helen Robinson

Subject: Briefing by NSW Electoral Commission Staff

 

 

 

Good afternoon Helen

 

Please find a letter addressed to Mr Barry from our General Manager.

 

 

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

 

 

Lorraine Hemsworth

 

Executive Assistant

 

Nambucca Shire Council

 

PO Box 177  MACKSVILLE  NSW  2447

 

Ph: (02) 6568 0213 Fax: (02) 6568 2201

 

Email: lorraine.hemsworth@nambucca.nsw.gov.au

 

Web: www.nambucca.nsw.gov.au

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER

 

This message is intended solely for the addressee. It is confidential and may be legally privileged. Access to this message by anyone else is unauthorised. Unauthorised use is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying or distribution of the message , or any action or omission taken by you in reliance on it, except for the purpose of the delivery to the addressee is prohibited and may be unlawful. Any confidentiality or privilege is not waived or lost because this e-mail has been sent to you by mistake. Please immediately contact the sender if this e-mail is incomplete or illegible or if you have received it in error. Thank you.

 

-------------------------------Safe Stamp-----------------------------------

Your Anti-virus Service scanned this email. It is safe from known viruses.

For more information regarding this service, please contact your service provider.


Ordinary Council Meeting - 3 November 2011

September 2012 Local Government Elections