The Editor, Your readers might be interested in an open letter I have just sent to Council. Dear General Manager, Mayor and Councillors
For some time there’s been criticism on a regular basis that council is not communicating very well with residents of the shire. Some residents of the shire have attempted to raise attention to what they see as ineffective or inadequate communication processes being used by Council and Councillors at council meetings The Public are given a limited time during Public Forum to voice their issues and speak to items on the agenda. Those participating in the public forum segment of Council meetings often leave these meetings very frustrated and critical of Council and what they see as inadequate participation with the community occurring. The general community are the providers that allow the council to function financially. If Councillors were to put more effort into genuine community involvement by submitting questions “On Notice”, or even “Notices of Motion” on behalf of ratepayers and residents who raise matters with them there may be less of a need for individuals to attend Council meetings making submissions that often are not immediately answered . Councillors could put more effort into direct communications with the community, by inviting concerned residents to write to them with submissions including Questions On Notice by those who have them, submitting the written questions as Questions On Notice or Notices of Motion. If more questions were submitted that way there would likely be a better public record of not only the questions but the answers or responses too. Council might consider promoting this as part of the code of meeting protocols when it’s time to consider the Code of Meeting Practice report when it becomes available !
Allan Brown Catalina