Welcome to this week’s editorial,
Election weekend for Eurobodalla and… half of the community have no idea it is on and most of the other half have no idea who to vote for. So who will win is anyone’s guess.
Due to the Covid Rules there will be no gauntlet of eager supporters thrusting how to vote leaflets at you. You might even be hard pressed to find a Democracy Sausage stall other than the ever present BBQ marquee at Bunnings.
There will be posters around the polling booths that might offer hints that there are Blue, Red and Green teams. If you haven’t already driven past one of the many posters nailed to trees up and down the shire, posted by the team of a current councillor (who really should know better) you will be seduced at the Polling Booth by smiling faces on the corflutes inviting you to scan a QR Code for their How to Vote suggestion.
In all the visual suggestion of an election has been low key. So much so that there may well be a higher than normal number of the community facing fines for having not voted.
Whatever happens will see one new mayor and eight new councillors elected. We might not know the results straightaway due to postal voting but all will be revealed in good time. Hopefully we end up with a good council as there is much to do and we need Councillors who represent the community, bring vision and turn around the toxic relationship that the Council of old has allowed to fester.
Already the new candidates are looking at the history of Council staff attempting to control the narrative. It is understood that the General Manager was surprised to learn that many of the key Mayoral Candidates have indicated they won’t be attending Council on Christmas Eve (Dec 24th) for a three hour induction.
The schedule (above) might be what the General Manager wants however, to send this out, without any consultation, to candidates that haven’t even been elected saying “I wish to advise that if you are successful in the election, we have the following sessions scheduled to assist you with your transition as a Councillor" has riled candidates, getting them off to a bad start believing that the General Manager has forgotten she is actually an employees of the new Councillors.
And what is Councillor Induction? The Office of Local Government describes the Induction program as aiming “to equip mayors and councillors with the information they need to perform their role effectively over the first few months and has a particular focus on building positive, collaborative relationships between councillors and with staff”. So far this hasn’t got off to a good start.
The Induction process has been likened to an Indoctrination process where the staff introduce layer on layer of Acts, legislations, policies and guidelines that, one after another, begin to strip away any ideas new councillors had of bringing change and a fresh approach. The Sir Humphrey Appleby approach will be present that the “Community knows what the community knows” and that “Councillors only need to trust in the staff as they are the professionals and know what they are doing”. Translated it means “You are just rubber stamps so enjoy the ride”.
So let’s see who is elected and then, as we saw with the Innes Era, watch the seductive “Vote for me” promises fade as the ever-mighty bureaucracy steps in to “educate” the newbies.