MACKAY Regional Council is undertaking a review to improve its communication in the wake of a “breakdown” that this week had the mayor scrambling to explain why she was unaware that fluoride dosing in the city stopped seven months ago.
Mayor Deirdre Comerford did not confront the media at a press conference following yesterday’s council meeting, instead leaving new chief executive officer Barry Omundson to provide a statement.
Mr Omundson said as CEO he was responsible for any operational issues regarding staff and workplace health and safety.
“The buck stops with the CEO,” he said.
Mr Omundson, who has held his position for 11 days, said he was not aware when fluoride dosing would recommence or if the former CEO knew fluoride had been taken out of the city’s water supply.
“It’s easy for me to come in, even you guys, and say things are broken … this instance shows it’s broken.”
He said the external review would look into “clearly defining people’s roles and then holding them accountable”.
Mr Omundson said the mayor would not be rushed into making a permanent decision on fluoridation in Mackay’s water supply.
He expected the communications review to be finalised in about two months.
Earlier this week the Daily Mercury reported that five of the 11 councillors representing Mackay were informed from a “passing comment” at a council briefing that fluoridation had stopped at the Nebo Road treatment plant.
Cr Comerford said she was not aware of the situation until Sunday night.
“To set the record straight, there was no briefing to council on any matter to do with the non-supply of fluoride to the Nebo Road Water Treatment Plant. I understand that an officer made a comment in passing heard by some councillors, however to be clear this was not a briefing but rather a passing comment,” Cr Comerford said.