Tuesday, 30 September 2008

New Mayor and Deputy Mayor in Wingecarribee

The new Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire Council will be Clr Duncan Gair. The Deputy Mayor will be Clr. Ken Halstead. Congratulations to the new officeholders.

As I mentioned on this post a few days ago, I was sure there would be some wheeling and dealing going on, behind the scenes. I got it wrong, about who might win. I thought the Paul Tuddenham might get up, as previous Deputy Mayor, but he decided not to stand for the position. He was the last Councillor to scrape in. But, then again he was not the only one to be scrabbling for last preference votes.

Seemingly, Juliet Arkwright has not been "trusted" by the Business Leaders of the Shire. This is despite the fact that she and her Liberal Party team won more than twice as many votes as Duncan Gair and his group received (his group got only 44% of the Liberals' vote). Whoever actually decides the Mayoral candidate clearly regarded Duncan Gair as a "safe pair of hands" (event though the voters were less convinced). See the election results for yourself.

I know the Election is not a popular vote for the Mayor (it is in some Councils, but clearly the old Council did not trust the voters to make a sensible choice, and so the by-laws which determine the election procedures in our Shire were designed to not permit a popular vote for Mayor). It is interesting, isn't it? Democracy is not what you might think it is.


I was told the outcome of yesterday's Council vote for Mayor and Deputy Mayor by the helpful person on the Council's switchboard, this morning. There is still nothing about any of this on the Council's Website, which is still in its normal dormant state.

The ABC local station still does not have a word about this on its website, (as of Tuesday 30/9.08 - 12:24pm) - but that's because the Southern Highlands News will not be published until Wednesday. The Journalists down there in ABC Illawarra at Wollongong tomorrow morning will simply read the "news" from the front pages of the local Newspapers, as they always do, and pretend that they have sourced it themselves. Try picking up the telephone, folks. The Council's phone number is on their website. That's how to provide a real news service to your audience - instead of news on delay ("Yesterday's News Tomorrow")

As I write this, (12 noon 30 September) the latest information they have is the Agenda papers for yesterday's Council meeting. I assume that the people who ought be writing the Minutes and publishing this information are too busy "getting to know" the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor, or even more likely, are locked into a room trying to decide how to deal with the new faces on Council, and working out how to avoid scrutiny over the now infamous Lehman Brothers debacle.
  • "Wingecarribee Shire Council will have to apply to administrators of Lehman Brothers Australia for money owed by the failed investment banking group, according to legal firm Clayton Utz. A year after Lehman Brothers ventured into Australia by buying Grange Securities for $120 million, the Australian arm went into administration on Friday, owing creditors $800 million." Source Southern Highlands News - 29/9/08
The procedure of claiming not to be able to make any statements, in order not to damage their case in pending legal action has always been a smokescreen, behind which the Council management and former Councillors were equally happy to hide behind.

Let us please have some openness in Government.

If looking for some guiding principles for how the new Council ought be governed, this would be a good place to start, folks. It is from your own website:
Our Values
EQUITY, JUSTICE and CONSULTATION in our obligations;

PRIDE in our lifestyle and environment;

EXCELLENCE in the provision of services;


INTEGRITY, skill and DEDICATION in the achievement of our objectives;

LEADERSHIP in the growth and prosperity of our community.

Interestingly, the word "Openness" does not appear, but the rest of the statement of Council's values is reasonable - provided they live up to it. And by that I mean, especially, the Council's Administration, as well as the persons who have just been elected.

For the record, I repeat my call made last week to all the new Councillors, and Senior Staff.

We need a change in attitude from day one of the new Council.

Let us have government for the people of the Wingecarribee, by the people of the Wingecarribee - for a change.

By the way, I think senior members of the Council staff ought live in the Shire - for starters - to show some confidence in their own Administration, and to show some solidarity with the people they are meant to serve.

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