It seems to me that the majority block of councillors do not want alternative views to be discussed in the community for any council issues that may arise.
We have seen this behaviour repeated on many occasions during this council term.
This in my view excludes community members and ratepayers from being part of the decision making process due to not being aware of the issue since the majority group seem determined to keep the discussion not only behind closed doors but forever to remain there afterwards with confidentiality clauses enacted whenever required to prevent any rogue councillors daring to inform the public.
I believe it should be a whole of community input to come up with different solutions to be debated instead of running with one solution with no input from the public.
The majority block seems to take the angle of it is either their way or no way at all.
All councillors should seek the views of the public, after all, it is the ratepayer paying for the decisions the councillors are making so ratepayers should get to have a say.
To help inform the wider community, councillors should be using effective strategies to communicate with the wider public.
This newsletter idea from Cr Hill is fantastic.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this first edition – may there be many more to come.
I found it hard to believe that Cr Fawcett and Cr Hutchinson-Brooks disagreed with what Cr Hill had implemented. I decided to investigate further.
A quick internet search and I discovered most councils seem to have policies that say that during election periods (that is the last month before the election – September), no councillor newsletters can be produced using council facilities.
That means I guess that those councils have councillors producing newsletters at other times.
Those council ratepayers must know more of what goes on in their councils.
I say we should have more of that in South Gippsland.
All councillors have a strict legislation to follow mainly in the interest of the people in their communities; this would be called good governance, in the Local Government Act 1989.
This clearly says councillors are to have a minimum toolkit of facilities to help them perform their role.
Part of their role is to inform their ward of issues they are aware of and possible solutions whilst giving the chance for ratepayers to have their say on issues.
The minimum toolkit is defined in a document produced in 2008 called Mayor and Councillor Entitlements and on page 3 of that document it clearly states that councillors must have access to a photocopier!
In the Local Government Act section 65 (2e) it states that:
In performing the role of a councillor, a councillor must “facilitate effective communication between the council and the community”.
I look forward to Edition 2 at some point in the future.
Ben Corcoran, Leongatha.