South Gippsland Shire ratepayers, you have one of the worst performing councils in the state for public engagement.
November 2016, we voted in a new council and we all hoped that there would be a change.
Last week’s comments in the press from Mayor Brunt and the past mayor (Argento) indicate we still have a council that seems to be more supportive of the CEO than they do of their constituents.
We have both councillors not facing up to the duties that they legally have – to monitor nuisances in the shire.
Mayor Brunt even went so far as to suggest that unelected legal people should provide the answers. This was all spin from the council administration who had failed in their duty to the poor ratepayers alleging the nuisance and treating the August Supreme Court order with little care.
Much of the problem is due to the control the CEO exercises over the councillors.
The CEO does not report significant enquiries to the councillors so they are kept in the dark like mushrooms.
This problem was made worse mid-2017 when the CEO introduced the C65 Policy – the policy that deals with engaging with council.
That policy says the council will have open and transparent engagement with we, the ratepayers.
However, if you want to ask the council a question, it passes through the CEO’s office where it is censored.
If the CEO condescends then the CEO reads out the question at the council meeting.
It seems the CEO failed to read out the enquiries about the Court order or even to advise the councillors of what was happening.
It appears the time is right for the council to take another look at Policy C65. The current policy is not serving the community to improve its engagement with councillors.
Lindsay Love, Secretary, South Gippsland Action Group.