Thursday, May 14, 2009

Endorsing Councillors

A big problem we have on MornPen is that we have 11 elected councillors who are elected with 11 agendas and there is no core agenda to work towards in order to eliminate systemic failures of the Shire.

We need to develop a set of core agendas to insure that our elected councillors are thinking from the same page of objectives and then endorse only the candidates who pledge to adhere to these agendas and to support each other in achieving them.

  • What are your ideas on this?
  • What core agendas should be considered?


  1. Agenda: Balance the budget. We need people who will pay down the debt, keep rates stable and make the hard decisions required to get it done. We cannot afford to be paying the interest each year and putting ourselves closer to bankruptcy.

  2. In Response to a question asked during public question time (council meeting 13.07.09) about presenting capital programs by Ward, Dr. Kennedy, stated that councillors are elected by ward but that is only incidental to their job of governing the whole peninsula. Further, his inference was that councilors have little responsibility to their constituency after they are elected and that from that point on they should only be interested in the “big picture”.

    That may be his view but I can assure you that we who elect councillors are electing them to look after our interests in addition to the shire as a whole. In fact I elected mine to look after my interests first and foremost. This is no different on why we vote for state and federal representatives. In fact, at the local level, in all of their little ‘what we stand for” statements they address the local issues to get elected. I do not see them running on a platform of increasing tourism or other grandiose “global” issues.

    If we constituents elect councillors on the platform that we want the Peninsula to be a sleepy little beach community and that we do not want them to peruse tourism for example, then it is their job to follow this mandate! They are supposed to be our representative. Kennedy is leading us down the path of ignoring the will of the people, his implication is that they know what we want more than we do and where this is in conflict they should ignore us.

    Yes, they do have an overall responsibility but let them not forget that we elect them and we do it for very specific reasons.

    I am hoping (this is what MornPenCouncilWatch is all about) that during the next election we can evaluate those who stand for council based their platform to reform the bureaucracy, to be ratepayer sensitive, and to solve some systemic problems that we have.

  3. The Rosebud pool is a good example of bad budgeting. Although a worthy adventure, it will cost a bundle (20,000,000?) and will cause more borrowing. Also it could end up being a big cash drain just like the facility in Hastings (that we cannot get an accounting of as the shire refuses to give us the information under their transparency scheme). So do we really want this tax burden on our shoulders???

    The shire needs to make this transparent as to how it is going to pay its own way. Additionally there are great concerns about any activity on the foreshore due to climate and stability situations causing high maintenance costs.

  4. The First criteria should be that they promise to balance the budget and reduce debt. And that they promise to stop misleading us with a bunch of jibber jabber.

  5. It appears that most Councillors enter with the best of intentions and are then faced with a system which is so disfunctional they do not really have an independant voice, or they are too intimidated to use it. I personally would like to see a huge improvement in the management of the assets the shire already has.

  6. Spending of Funds in Mornington Ward:

    Posted from the Shire website (council minutes) from public question and answer time. I say, then what in the hell do we elect them for by ward??? What a bunch of Crap and the problem is that our elected councillors have been coerced into thinking like this also.

    Mr. Scott Crowe, a resident of Mornington, asked the following question: …“Reading the Proposed Budget for the Shire for 2009/2010 I am unable to identify what monies are being spent in the Mornington Ward. What is the purpose of producing such a large document if we as constituents are unable to identify projects for discussion with our Ward Councillor?”

    Dr. Michael Kennedy OAM, Chief Executive Officer advised that Ward boundaries are not a consideration for the allocation of Budget funds. Each Ward has diverse requirements and making Ward comparisons is not appropriate. The size and topography of the Shire will dictate how funds are spent. Examples are drainage related works and fire reduction works.

    Councillors represent the whole Shire, but will endeavour to respond to questions relating to Ward specific budgets

  7. Editorial in Leader Community Newspapers: posted with permission of Chris Tatman: Editor
    Future clear for councils.

    MOST ratepayers have a benign relationship with their council: the rates are paid, the council services occur at regular intervals and, occasionally there is a need to investigate planning applications or scrutinize a councillor's bid for re-election.

    Yet as any reader of Leader Community Newspapers will know, there are plenty of other activities the good and the not-so-good that happen across our councils every week. The Ombudsman has revealed some of the worst of these excesses at Brimbank Council and some management problems at Port Phillip Council.

    In the aftermath the State Government announced it would establish the role of Chief Municipal Inspector. This would help ensure Victorian councils were complying with the Local Government Act, while also having the power to recommend a council be suspended or dismissed for a failure of corporate governance. This would be complemented by 12 new inspectors.

    Cynics could see this initiative as just another layer of bureaucracy, but for many of us these innovations represent a serious indication of intent.

    It is clearly putting councils on notice that they need to be more transparent in how they run: any taint of cronyism has to be eliminated. At the heart of these reforms is the acknowledgement that local councils are about grassroots democracy.

    Councils who make a commitment to serve their community in a fully transparent and accountable manner have nothing to fear from these changes.