It’s of course been a very interesting first week in the mayoral role.
The mayor and council staff have regular meetings with local members, community groups and the chambers of commerce to update on issues from the different perspectives, and this week was no exception.
Our council has long prided itself on working closely with residents to try to accommodate all points of view, address potential problems early and progressively improve itself.
Especially in the past four years, this is largely why we have been able to achieve such a large annual delivery program in comparison with similar NSW councils.
I know there will always be criticisms of council and people who disagree with what council does and how. But that’s life and it would be strange if everyone always agreed in total.
But from experience I know how hard the majority of council staff works to accommodate reasonable requests and suggestions from the community. Just as I’m well aware of the enormous legislative challenges and regulations confronting council, which often escape the knowledge of everyday life.
For instance this week I had several people complain bitterly about what seemed like unnecessary delays by council in processing their development applications. In most cases the long time frame does not arise from council staff being slack, but from the complexity of the processes that council is compelled by law to follow. Imagine the uproar if council acted unlawfully, in ignorance or through backroom deals!
As we approach a new mayoral election – probably near the end of July - there will no doubt be candidates promising the world to the community.
Voters would be wise to carefully consider all promises and not be swayed by grandiose rhetoric that can’t be fulfilled in practice, or which comes at the cost of progress achieved to date.
If you have criticisms about council, or a suggestion, then please make contact and raise your specific concerns.