Eurobodalla Mayor Mat Hatcher: One thing I’ve learned during my short time in this position is most people aren’t so sure what a mayor does. There are no KPIs and no to-do list on the desk when you walk in, that’s for sure, but the Local Government Act 1993 has a clear definition.
A mayor is to be not only the leader of the council but a leader in the local community. Their role is to advance community cohesion and promote civic awareness; be the spokesperson of council and represent the views of the council. With that in mind, I was honoured to represent the interests of our shire in the lead up to the Bega by-election and will again as the Federal election heats up. The public’s cynicism around these political ‘photo opps’ is understandable. But I see an opportunity to get in the ears of politicians and politicians-to-be. When it comes to the needs of our community, I’m apolitical and I won’t shy away from a chance to speak truth to power.
Another key role of the mayor is to work with the general manager to ensure adequate opportunities and mechanisms for engagement between the council and local community. This is something the new councillors take seriously and I hope you’re noticing positive changes already in the way we’re asking for community feedback and getting residents involved in council meetings.
On top of that there is responding to emails, text messages, voicemails, phone calls, Facebook messages, filling pools, dancing with the stars, encouraging residents to volunteer and maybe even draw a meat raffle!
In the age of technology, you are more connected than ever to your elected officials and the public want full access. Above all else community expect someone to proactively have their back. We are a very resilient community who has had to endure a pretty tough run. Positivity and working together will get us through.
Above: Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Mathew Hatcher.