Lilac Time fireworks 

Follow @bmurphy92IT started with confusion and ended with a barb aimed at this newspaper.
Nanjing Night Net

Miscommunication surrounding conditional support requirements of the Lilac City Festival committee was brought to a head on Thursday night during a council workshop.

As of August 2009, Council support for the festival was conditional if the committee supplied evidence of current insurance, public liability cover, annual financial reports and articles of association.

All of these had been abided by, bar one … the financial reports.

In May 2013, a letter was sent to the festival committee requesting submission of reports and other required information in relation to both the 2011 and 2012 festivals.

No response was received.

“Council is considering whether or not to withdraw total support,” general manager Chris Berry told the seven present Lilac committee members during Thursday night’s workshop.

“The main issue has always been the financial statements; just to make sure that requirement of council is met.”

Speaking for the committee Heather Landow questioned the need for financial statements, explaining that a volunteer audits the reports and can only do so in his own time.

“We can’t give you audited reports before the end of April,” she said.

Mr Berry, Community Services director Jim Styles and the seven present councillors resolved that if unaudited reports could be submitted by the end of January Council would allow for audited reports to be handed in by the end of April.

If this is consistent, there would be no reason for council to withdraw support upon conditional terms.

Confusion around whether the Committee was currently registered as a licensed charitable fundraising group was also cleared on the night. A search of licensed charitable groups found no results for the committee as of Thursday last week.

Committee member Yvonne Neale attributed the misunderstanding on the NSW Government Licensing Service, claiming “it’s their fault, not ours”.

Ms Landow explained that the license was current, although not updated on the Government website.

“They lost our application and we’ve been to-ing and froing with them for the last nine months,” she said.

“I rang them as late as Wednesday and they said ‘yes we have got everything but we haven’t done anything about it yet’.”

At the time of publication, the website had been updated to show the current licence, which will expire next year.

Workshop warms up Meantime, a dispute with individual councillors and “lazy” volunteers has led to an extensive and somewhat exclusive Lilac committee membership process, it was revealed at the workshop.

Following discussion on conditional support requirements, Cr Margaret O’Neill inquired about committee membership. She said in the past, two council representatives joined as volunteers to construct a cooperative relationship between the two organisations.

“There’s a lot of people that come to this council to ask how they can join in on Lilac Time,” she said.

Mr Berry said he had written to the committee a number of times seeking applications for councillors in particular.

“From a council perspective I think I’ve written on two or three occasions now saying there was a number of councillors who were interested in becoming members and asked for membership forms,” he said.

No such forms were supplied.

“My view is… that if someone wants to come along and become a member they are provided with the forms, they sign the forms, it goes to a committee, the committee sees it and they can either accept it or reject it but they’re not prevented from getting a form in the first place.”

Ms Neale said applications go before the committee where the fate of the applicant is decided. Past experiences with certain councillors led to the reluctance of extending the invitation to the current councillors, she said.

“Every time we’ve had certain councillors there’s been trouble… (but) there’s many councillors here who we would like to work with,” she said.

“The committee has been pretty upset with Council,” Ms Landow added.

“We have some councillors that may be accepted and some of them that mightn’t and that causes factions. If we don’t have any we don’t have a problem.”

Mr Berry reminded the committee that the actions of certain individuals shouldn’t prevent the consideration of other interested persons.

“I’ll give you some membership forms but may I say now that if we knock you back, do not get vindictive,” Ms Landow said.

As for the general public, perhaps it’s time to prove the committee wrong.

“(The volunteers) come and they fill out a form and we don’t see them too much.

Once you give them a job you don’t see them anymore,” Ms Neale said.

As the evening drew to a close, Mayor Geoff Kettle highlighted festival promotion.

He noted that he had received feedback about lack of advertising and promotion leading up to the annual event.

“If you want assistance with those things the Mayor has indicated that all you have to do is copy it in on an email and he will put it in his column,” Mr Berry advised.

With a quick glance back to your scribe, Ms Landow said “I hate to say this but who reads the Goulburn Post these days… no offence”.

This year’s Lilac Festival will be held from Friday October 4 til Monday October 7. There will be a range of entertainment and activities planned for the weekend included the civic business displays, carnival, Lilac Queen crowning, fireworks and markets. The festival procession will take place on Sunday, October 6 at 11am.

GLORY DAYS: Lilac time in 1968

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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