Few would disagree with Bruce Beatson’s assertion (Sentinel-Times, June 29) that: “South Gippsland deserves a Council that is free from bullying, self-interested decision-making and mate’s deals” but I’m disappointed with his over-simplistic recipe as to how we should get there. According to Bruce, it’s just by ensuring that we elect none of the councillors who were sacked, but “fresh faces and genuine candidates”.
In my opinion, as one who was there by that time, the council was actually functioning quite well (considering the imposed circumstances) when it was sacked – all the disruptive influences had by that stage left. Most of the councillors at that time hadn’t even been there when the seeds for the sacking were sown.
While it may sound attractive to elect a completely new suite of councillors, anyone who has watched “Yes Minister” will be aware that such a group will be easily “managed” by the bureaucracy, and it could take years before they are able to effectively steer Council towards the genuinely best outcomes for the SG community.
The councillors we elect in October need to have demonstrated a broad commitment to many community groups and causes, and be committed to genuine consultation and communication. What they mustn’t be is people with narrow, sectional interests in particular businesses, areas or developments. We’ve been down that path too many times and it hasn’t ended well.
In my brief period as a councillor, I saw a group of capable and committed individuals who, if they choose to re-stand, should be judged by the criteria above – not by some simplistic notion of a new broom being a panacea. Certainly, we need some new blood, but if none of the sacked councillors are returned, South Gippsland will be the poorer for it.
Frank Hirst, Ranceby.