Warrnambool City councillor Peter Hulin has been granted a leave of absence from four upcoming meetings, however one councillor said it was “inappropriate”.
I’m extremely disappointed that we won’t have seven councillors in the room when we bring down our $80 million budget in June.Warrnambool City councillor Mike Neoh
Cr Hulin will miss three ordinary meetings in March, June and July, and a special meeting to adopt the budget, also in June.
Cr Mike Neoh was the sole councillor who voted against allowing Cr Hulin’s leave.
“I’m extremely disappointed that we won’t have seven councillors in the room when we bring down our $80 million budget in June,” he said.
“I would be interested in the Warrnambool Ratepayers Association’s opinion of that.”
Cr Neoh said Cr Hulin had missed 42 per cent of the budget adoption meetings over the past seven years.
“I think it is inappropriate,” he said.
“I would hope that the local government minister in the future would mandate that all councillors are present on the night that the budget is handed down.
“I think one-offs are fine, but a trend of 42 per cent of absenteeism during budget meetings is inappropriate.”
Cr Hulin said he was "livid" with Cr Neoh's comments.
"I cant believe he came out with it," he said.
"It is totally out of line. If he had an issue, he could have brought it up at a briefing. When I go overseas I meet with councils. I do a tonne of work for council. It's an ongoing attack on me. It's extremely disappointing and it does nothing to tell the true story.”
He said he spent his holidays travelling Europe to get ideas for the city.
"I get thousands of photos and officially meet with councils," he said. "I have appointments and meet with them. I have one coming up with Salzburg to talk about their garbage. They have invited me."
Cr Hulin said he participated in budget discussions before it was adopted.
"Because I go overseas at a particular time of year, I'm not there to adopt the budget, but I'm participating in every part of the process of it up until that point,” he said.
"This just shows what I've been dealing with for the past 10 years. I invited him to breakfast last week to hold out an olive branch to get a better working relationship."