The year in review

Well it’s now been one full year give or take a few days, Signe Westerberg (78 of 102)we have a council elected by the people for the people…well perhaps not so much for the people… Here is a quick rundown of what I see has and hasn’t happened… sadly there is more of the hasn’t than has. Listed in no particular order and is by no means complete, if you feel you can add, please do so by commenting . As always I value your input be it positive and or negative.

What the Councillors Have made HAPPEN…whether we liked it or not…

  • They Have increased rates– promised & promoted to be 12.5% that actually amounted to between 17% -30% for most residents.
  • They have – made sure they got the top pay scale available.
  • They Have – continued the infighting amongst themselves at council meetings, factions and fractions formed early and have continued to the present day.
  • They Have – attended Council meetings: In fairness council meetings have had pretty good attendance… one councillor through a death in the family was absent, another was ill and another it was pointed out perhaps forgot to set the alarm. All in all except for these three occasions they have attended scheduled council meetings, although not privy to briefings it’s been said to me that attendance here is not so well represented.
  • They Have – encouraged the increase the number of apprentices hired by Liverpool City Council.
  • The Have – secured Collingwood House and its surrounds for the future.
  • They Have – managed to take 3 junkets on our behalf… 7 members attended the Broken Hill State conference and The Mayor & Gary Lucas attended the Canberra summit while now another 7 are preparing for the Tamworth State conference. Although strictly conveyed as development and training, I’m still unsure why we need such a large contingent at these events. These I might add are the publicly advised events; I cannot say if there have been others for which we pay for our councillors to attend. We won’t know this until the budget indicates councillor expenses.
  • The Mayor has – appeared to be pretty busy; she has managed to acknowledge plenty of functions she has attended although whether or not she has managed to fit in her full time job as well is unknown to me.

What Councillors didn’t’ do:

  • They Haven’t – had too much activity amongst the community by councillors – nonexistent with perhaps exception of vote promoting support to smaller core groups
  • They Haven’t – facilitated transparency – way too much is done behind closed doors, comments by councillors in previous posts confirm this.
  • They Haven’t – Debated issues in Council, on way too many occasions the councillors have simply rubber stamped ideas – very little active debate was done in chambers.
  • They Haven’t – Worked within the community amongst the community to raise the profile of issues important to the residents. E.g. proposed container terminal, South Sydney Freight lines, M5, bus services to the western region etc
  • They Haven’t – supported many of the community functions i.e. National tree day (NO one attended at all)
  • They certainly Haven’t – Promoted Liverpool as a destination of note, or for that matter promote Liverpool at all.
  • They Haven’t – Cleaned up our city – highly promoted in election campaigns as our most urgent need.
  • They Haven’t – Created  pride in our community again high on the list during the campaign
  • They Haven’t – Fixed parking – can you see a pattern forming?
  • They Haven’t – Improved infrastructure, maintenance and appearance of the LGA
  • They Haven’t – Eradicated Graffiti – although it has been the number one talking point for the whole year
  • They Haven’t – Fixed our Gateways – although I know work is due to start…but we are a year in.
  • They Haven’t – Managed to have to Noise walls installed for the Casula residents along the rail or the m5 or at Warwick Farm.
  • They Haven’t – Supported the Local residents at Hoxton Park and Austral in relation to the proposed schools… with the  exception of Cllrs: Gary Lucas, Peter Harle, Nadia Napolitano & Tony Hadchiti  who did fight for the locals in relation to Hoxton Park albeit a little late in the process they did have a reasonable shot at it. These 4 in fairness have in some small way at least started to represent the community; however there are 11 in total…
  • They Haven’t – responded to the LAKES group who wrote to all councillors for support, last I heard only 1 replied, this councillor after all had managed to make upset many amongst the H/Park group and was looking to raise his image. Little to naught has received his attention since. I have now heard that some representation has been made by another councillor, although extent and details are unknown at this stage.
  • They Haven’t – Attended community meetings/forums with the exception of (on occasion) Cllrs: Peter Harle, Gary Lucas and (more rarely) Tony Hadchiti.
  • They Haven’t attended committee meetings on way too many occasions although  they  fought to be included in many of the council committees… for example one councillor stood for one committee in particular that has now had 5 meetings, he managed to attend only once for an hour.  Others made comments at council meetings questioning committee decisions only to have it pointed out that if they had actually attended the meeting they were in line to make decisions and that they had not bothered to attend.
  • They haven’t –commenced work on Pioneer Park although money is in the bank waiting
  • They haven’t – got a good reputation from the community for answering emails and letters.
  • The Mayor hasn’t brought this team together; they are no closer to working as a team than they were the day before the election. Perhaps not entirely her fault but none the less disappointing.

Summary

So far I have to say that without exception these guys have cost us more than they have done, any infrastructure and maintenance that has been achieved could have also been done without councillors at all, the General manager and staff have in most cases prepared the relevant info for rubber stamping by the councillors. Our most successful initiative was perhaps the Garbage system rollout, a huge success by recognised standards was done by council staff not councillors. Several programmes have been supported but not initiated by councillors except the obsession with graffiti, and again this is in the planning stages nothing has actually happened. Those wheels of progress do turn ever so slowly don’t they?

To say I am disappointed in the achievements (or lack thereof) of the councillors because as I see it they have done little to nothing to improve Liverpool, they have cost us (big time) they support very little and they achieve even less. I don’t want to hear that they are new, we are a year in, and I won’t say that they haven’t done anything at all, I can only comment  on what is public and so far there isn’t anything much that can be said.  The two councillors (apart from the mayor) who manage to get comments out and about being Councillors Lucas and Harle seem to have attended some public forums (and recently Cllr Hadchiti has rocked up to a couple), they have attempted to have their views heard and in councillor Lucas’s case he’s the councillor who has pre empted nearly every important issue by releasing it to the local papers long before it was a council decision or while still in discussion phase. Things like the rate increase, proposed parking metres, parking initiatives etc. You only have to look back through Champion & Leader papers to prove this.

Could I have done any better?  – who knows, I guess that’s a question people can ask at the next election but surely we can expect a lot more in the coming years, after all we have these councillors for another 3 years. 

Just in closing, so I am clear, I strongly support council having councillors, pro active, passionate and active councillors. I would prefer to have been able to report on the many fantastic achievements and improvements to our Liverpool alas, all I can say is I’ve kept my word, I promised to keep an eye out whether elected or not. There are still many things to achieve here in our fair city and as part of a number of committees and groups I’ll continue to do the best I can and in the mean time I will keep you informed, I will continue to submit ideas, I will complain and I will recognise good work.

So for now, it’s been a year, we need to move forward, refocus and hopefully bounce some positiveness and passion into those councillors who appear to have done nothing but suck up fresh air in the last year and cost us money. As I said above this list is not complete, if you feel you can add, please do so by commenting.  As always I value your input be it positive and or negative.

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