Dear readers, Saturday 10 September 2016 saw the voting in of our new term of Councillors. They have now been in place six months and it is a good time to stop and reflect on their first Six Months of service to the community. In standing for Council they all understood the role required; to participate to represent to contribute to consider the diversity of interests to consider the needs of the community to observe principles of good governance to act with integrity to provide civic leadership to exercise of the various functions and responsibilities of Council under the LG Act and other Acts to participate in the responsible allocation of resources to facilitate effective communication between the Council and the community So how are they going? The only time the general public gets to see how the Councillors are performing is via the live streamed Council meetings so this is a good place to begin. Mayor Liz Innes has shone from the start in the way she chairs the Council meetings. She shows respect for the public presenters, respect for the gallery and respect for all of the Councilors. The grandstanding and bias, the factionalism and misogyny of the previous chamber is gone and there is an air of openness and potential. - An A Within these Beagle comment pages there has been a fair bit said already of the performance of several Councillors. Most often with disappointment of a few however equally of support and congratulation to those new Councillors who appear to be taking their role seriously and are making good grounds in bringing change to the "old ways". Some nick names have developed for various chamber players such as The Feather Duster, The Cowboy, Spud Point, The Doorman, CC or Constable Constable, The Green Man, The Jackal and The Mare (herein thereafter to be respectfully called The Mayor in these pages). Their performances to date are there, in the archives of Council's video library, for all to see. The Green Man has indeed earned his name from the Scottish Green man acknowledged as the symbol of rebirth and change. To date his actions in the chamber in all regards have been exemplary - an A The Jackal in turn has indeed been tenacious in her questions and does not give in until satisfied. - B+ Constable Constable has been forthright in his principles to serve and has made good inroads to date via his line of enquiries. B+ Prince Valiant rose to the occasion and oversaw the last Council meeting with authority, fairness and valour especially with the oft quips from the Feather Duster to his left. - An A The Feather Duster needs to realise that he is the EX- Mayor and that his grandstanding rhetoric, his advice to other councillors on how to speak, his continued references to all the things he has ever done in his short political career and his selective memory of Council history in his offerings and closures simply don't impress anyone nor do all the names of anyone he has met at a conference or in corridors of power. Best if he speed reads "How to be humble in defeat" and maybe look back over the documentation of his previous term to ensure it is all in order before the can opens. A C- (could do better) Sadly to date The Doorman (B-) and The Cowboy (D) have offered very little in the chamber and one still wonders who they actually represent from the community as there is a distinct lack of any reference to public meetings or engagement though it was pleasing to see a Notice of Motion go up from The Doorman on electric vehicles that has been long in the pipework. Most disappointing is The Cowboy who seems to spend most of his time looking at his mobile phone and his tablet and blatantly disregarding Public speakers whilst they present, failing to bother to extend their time to present or engage them with any questions and generally being indifferent to any matter bought before Council. Last is the statesman of chamber - Spud Point, who occasionally brings his wisdom to the floor though all too rarely and, for some reason or other, now appears to have joined the band of The Cowboy, The Doorman and the Feather Duster in a voting block. The role he plays as a councillor is not at all apparent on the floor and while it is hoped he does better in briefings the public perception is that he is is a snoozy Dormouse and has been known to nod off. These are indeed interesting times we live in.
Feel free to give your own report card scores below - and a reminder that respect and civility is required, no matter how tiresome that might be.