MAYOR Bobby Bourke has lashed out at "keyboard warriors" who took to social media on Thursday to criticise hefty pay rises for the mayor and councillors.
Cr Bourke said those attacking councillors online needed to "pull their heads in" and said he was always happy to discuss matters of concern with ratepayers in person.
While he was upset with all the "faceless people in the community" who joined in the online criticism, Cr Bourke was particularly disappointed with items posted on the Western Advocate Facebook page by Stuart Pearson and Sandy Bathgate.
Both men are regular attendees at council meetings with Mr Pearson part of a new group in town called Power Bathurst and Mr Bathgate representing the Bathurst Heritage Matters group.
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Mr Pearson posted that the timing of the pay rises was "a terrible look [in] the middle of the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s" while Mr Bathgate asked "why was this not publicly discussed and voted on at the council meeting?"
"I'm very disappointed with them for being part of that," Cr Bourke said.
"They know that the mayor's door is always open to discuss any issue.
"They represent local committees and work with council but to be attacking the mayor and councillors online is not going to help those relationships."
... attacking the mayor and councillors online is not going to help those relationships.Mayor Bobby Bourke
Mr Pearson, who has already flagged his plan to run for council at next year's delayed elections, agreed that he and Mr Bathgate worked well with council but said they weren't "lap dogs".
He said he did not believe the mayor and councillors were being overpaid but did not like the way pay rises were pushed through in each year's budget without closer scrutiny.
"In the interests of transparency this should have been a separate motion and Bobby Bourke, as a leader and mayor, should have put up a motion to defer a decision to receive feedback from the community first," he said.
"What I don't like is that these big lots of money are hidden as single line items as councillors approve the overall budget for the year."
Cr Bourke has indicated he would speak with councillors about possibly reviewing the decision.
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