WHAT attributes to you believe are required to make a good councillor?
That's the burning question being asked by an independent community group established in early 2011 by the then Port Macquarie Hastings Council administrator, Gary Payne.
The Governance Review Consultation Panel's goal is to develop policies, procedures and mechanisms to ensure council is governed in the best interests of the community, its visitors and investors.
Independent chair, Liesa Davies, says the panel is presenting the community with a unique opportunity to express what they want to see in our future councillors in the lead up to the September local government elections.
"Quite often people are focused heavily on candidates' 'platforms'," she said.
"We'd like people to consider the fact that Councillors are not just our elected representatives, but that we need them to work effectively as part of the team that is Council's governing body.
"As a Council, they make the decisions and policies that guide the activities and effective operation of the Council for the benefit of the whole community.
"To perform well in this role, it is widely acknowledged that they need much more than just an opinion on some issues" said Governance Panel Chairperson, Liesa Davies.
Ms Davies and the panel are inviting members of the community to have their say on the attributes, qualifications or experience they believe Councillors need to be good representatives and contribute effectively to Council decision making and governance.
"There are many qualities or 'key specifications' that may be relevant to being an effective Councillor.
"These include, but are certainly not limited to, things like superior communication skills, experience in working in a democratic decision making process, a demonstrated understanding of sustainable economic development, a proven ability to engage with the community, or - some may say - being free from the control of a specific political party or interest group.
"In providing their views, some people might like to think of this as an employment process where the panel is asking the community to develop the selection criteria.
"And like any job, we hope that quality candidates and appointments will help ensure the very best outcomes for our community," said Ms Davies.
The panel is welcoming the community's views on the key specifications they want to see in our future Councillors via a survey link on the Port Macquarie Hastings Council website (www.hastings.nsw.gov.au), or by completing the tear out form in the Port Macquarie News, The Express, The Wauchope Gazette and the Camden Haven Courier by May 30.
Once all ideas are received and compiled, the panel members will be going back to the community asking them to have their say on which of the key specifications are the most important and should be addressed by Councillor Candidates in the lead up to the September election.