If we look to the south we see Bega Council hard at work. Their communications to the community are exemplary. They have not missed one council meeting since January 1st and have even held a few more extraordinary meetings to keep on top of the workload. Their meetings are zoomed and they are an example we can look to of a proactive council at work. Each day we see the State Premier at press calls. With her Ministers. making announcements. We see every day the Opposition also hard at work. Even though they aren't back in the parliament they are all adapting and working away at the process of democracy. Even our local member is more that capable of delivering video announcements to the media of election intentions. At a Federal level every night displays the machinations of government at work. In Bega, in NSW and in Canberra the three tiers of government appear to be hard at work trying to work out the road ahead. At a local level Bega Council and their councillors have been measuring the financial impact of the bushfires on their economy and the impact to ratepayers. They have met and determined where they can best make savings and also provide economic support to ratepayers via subsidies and waiving of rates, fees and charges. And each and every day they provide communication to their ratepayers to ensure inclusion. Eurobodalla Council has a communications team that answers directly to the General Manager, Catherine Dale. This team have the capacity to deliver quality communications to the community of exactly what is happening in council and what the councillors are proposing as a way forward. But the General Manager and the councillors have decided to take a Covid holiday and have done NOTHING at all for the last five weeks and will not be returning to their next Zoom meeting for another fortnight. Seven long weeks of NOTHING. Fortunately the buk of the staff are in charge and roads, rates and rubbish continue. Many of the indoor staff are now working from home and for council it is pretty much business as usual with few affected by job losses or redundancies. But what of democracy and the role of councillors? If business can continue as usual without any input at all from councillors then the question could be asked why have them. The role of a councillor is a simple one. They are a scapegoat. When elected the NSW State Government gives councillors full authority over pretty much everything. The councillors then hand it down the line to their General Manager, who they appoint. The General Manager then hands official duties down to executives who had them down to staff. At the end of the day all the duties required to be carried out under delegated authority have been handed out. Our mob, being either stupid, ignorant, lazy or indifferent decided to hand everything over. This means the council could pretty much run on its own without them. So much so that if they were got rid of then an administrator could come in and replace the entire lot of them. And it has been done before under similar circumstances, of gross ineptitude and back room deal making. So what function do our councillors have? Easy, they are there to rubber stamp the recommendations of the staff. This then passes the responsibility of decisions back to Councillors who are teflon coated if sh*t hits the fan. Recommended that Mackay Park project goes ahead. Adopted by Councillors. Consequence: Blowout in budget as maintenance and overheads exceed expectations. Councillor excuse: We voted in good faith on the information at hand. Recommended that rates, fees and charges increase by 2.6% This too will be adopted by Councillors Consequence: an unnecessary burden on ratepayers, especially in light of revelations of intentional overcharging on water and sewer and a projected $6m surplus as a result of the increase. So all councillors have to do is endorse the recommendations of staff: Sell public parks and reserves as they are "surplus to needs" Sell the Batemans Bay Community Centre as it will be duplicated in the new Mackay Park. Build a 1000m2 gym and reduce the pool to 25m x 8 lanes Remove the Clyde Street boatramp Sell the racecourse for $1.2m but refuse to reveal the sale price Close down the live streaming of Public Forum and minimise Public Access All recommendations of staff and endorsed by councillors... in good faith. An in good faith means that they suffer no consequence other than to not be elected next time around. So where are our indifferent, lazy and mostly inept councillors - they are on a Covid holiday having only just come back from a Bushfire holiday - in essence the Eurobodalla Shire has not been governed by our councillors since January 1st. Thank goodness we have dedicated staff who have taken on their delegated duties with professionalism and continue to prove for our core needs - water, sewer, roads, public infrastructure, administration, planning, community services, rates and rubbish.
Missing in Action "I am taking some time away from the office until 15 May 2020. My emails will not be regularly monitored during this time."