The Beagle Editor, New Year’s Revolution?
During chats with other council watchers, it was noted that the conduct of council’s meetings was much criticised in the past year and we wondered if there is any soul-searching done to arrive at New Year’s resolutions by councillors.
Councillors could ensure that they are seen to be standing up for their community and that council is engaged, open, transparent, honest and inclusive by encouraging residents to raise issues and then making sure they are dealt with properly by introducing some simple amendments to the codes governing meeting practices; they can also ensure that their debates on issues are seen to be actually happening for the good of the communities they represent and, contrary to current impressions, that their open meetings are not purely rubber stamping exercises for decisions reached earlier when perhaps political influences or even personal power tactics/egos might be employed. Simple changes around the conduct of, and public access at meetings that would help include:- - Councillors could turn off their computing devices and give full attention to submissions. - Questions without notice from the public could be raised. - Issues considered important could result in suspension of standing orders to allow investigations by councillors with relevant staff. - Public access and councillor comments could be recorded in minutes and streamed via the internet. - Councillor workshops and briefings could be open to the public and media.
It's all very well for councillors prior to elections promising that all will be better when they are chosen but those promises need to be followed through aided by reinforcement in the "rules" to ensure good governance is obviously occurring. It's a wonder these sorts of provisions aren't already mandatory in the Act and regulations. | Maybe our local member can help bridge this gap too!
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