The latest media release from the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association Inc mirrors much of the sentiment we have been reading in the Beagle pages. For your interest. Council Leadership - Bega Valley Shire Council
Last month, the General Manager of Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC), Leanne Barnes, openly fawned on Cr Kristy McBain following the announcement that she had been “recognised as a role model in Council & the community by winning a category in the 2017 Ministers' Awards for Women in Local Government”.
Ms Barnes breathlessly described Cr McBain as “a dedicated contributor to all issues & matters before Council. She is particularly passionate about issues relating to economic & business growth, education, planning & development, real community engagement & thinking outside the square when planning for the future”.
Ignoring the partisan view of Council’s General Manager for the moment, the association recently wrote to Cr McBain & her colleagues asking them to assist the association “by preparing a brief synopsis of what they believe they have achieved during their first six months on the current Council, in particular taking account of their stated ambitions & aspirations” in the lead-up to the September, 2016 Council elections.
The BVSRRA wrongly believed that after six months in office, our Councillors should have some idea as to how they are going. We also thought that they’d be eager to share their progress & achievements with those who elected them: it’s called engagement & communication.
The BVSRRA is disappointed to report that only Cr Allen paid us the courtesy of responding to our request, while the other “servants of the community” simply ignored it.
Of course, the BVSRRA accepts that Councillors are under no obligation to respond to its correspondence; that’s something it’s previously learnt as a result of Councillors having ignored its submissions.
But the thing is, if Councillors choose to ignore such opportunities; if they refuse to engage & communicate with the BVSRRA, then they are in effect thumbing their noses at our members, who are just as entitled to be treated with respect & courtesy as are the Directors of Sapphire Coast Tourism, the Pambula-Merimbula Golf Club, the Merimbula & Bega Chambers of Commerce, Bega Cheese or other Council favourites such as the Member for Bega.
At present Council seems content to maintain the appearance that it is “doing something” by manufacturing photo opportunities or phoney awards for the Mayor, conducting radio interviews that are devoid of content or pumping-out a flood of noisy media releases that simply serve to confirm that it is all about activity rather than meaningful action.
If Cr McBain & her fellow Councillors wish to be taken seriously & treated with respect, then they need to take our community seriously; stop arrogantly patronising those who they are allegedly supposed to represent & afford them some respect.
As long as Councillors treat their responsibilities with contempt, they can hardly be surprised if & when the community decides to treat them the same way.
Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association