It seems that some sitting councillors (‘Campaign going off the rails’, Sentinel-Times, September 27) believe there is a conspiracy or ‘subtext going on below the surface’ in this (South Gippsland Shire) council election, with “single-issue candidates” having been “encouraged” to be “dummies” in order to get other councillors re-elected.
I am unaware of any conspiracy. The reason why South Gippsland has a record number of candidates nominating in the forthcoming election is because many care deeply about the community, and many have perceived a culture of complacency, a lack of transparency and openness, a wastefulness, and a lack of both respect and real forward-thinking occurring over the last four years of this outgoing council. This is the reason I nominated.
I, like many, have also sadly experienced council employees’ inflexibility and lack of consideration amounting to serious unprofessionalism, that has caused anger, frustration and even despair (an example of this was cited in the Sentinel-Times recently of the farmer who shot his dogs).
Many in the community also perceive a majority of councillors who simply want to preserve the status quo, and who have repeatedly voted down others with more progressive and genuinely caring concerns.
While councillors cannot directly impact council employees’ actions, they have a duty to direct and influence the CEO as to the overall culture and behaviour of council employees to ensure council serves the community’s best interest.
However, from the Foster and Korumburra candidate forums it’s heartening to see so many excellent council candidates who are genuinely concerned that we as a community can do better.
I do most sincerely hope the wider community reads these progressive candidates’ 200 word statements that will by now have arrived in mail boxes all over the shire, and vote accordingly.
For the record, before nominating for the Tarwin Valley Ward, I knew none of the sitting council members personally (though had met Cr Hutchinson-Brooks and Cr McEwan each once).
After nominating, I was approached by two sitting council members and invited to share a mail-out of preferences in order to save time and costs.
In talking with them, I realised we share many common goals and aspirations and have directed my preferences accordingly.
Di Tod, candidate for the Tarwin Valley Ward.

Editor’s note: At the end of her email to all local newspapers, titled ‘Muckraking’, Ms Todd included by mistake part of another message intended for the person who organised the preference pamphlet. It reads as follows: “…but I do feel that you could have mixed up our preferences a little more, also, I did think you should have included a pamphlet explaining the issues with the how-to-vote card – then they would have had no excuse for these dummy allegations – never mind, no good crying over spilt milk”.