2009/2010 the year in review.

Here we are yet again, this time acknowledging / celebrating 2 years of councillor activity or lack thereof.  I’ve actually sent out a call for help on this issue as I’m struggling to come up with sufficient positive activity to make this report interesting. Here are my views/opinions  of the past 12months.

So here we go, in loose chronological order:

Councillors didn’t accept the proposed 2.5% pay raise .This was the first on the agenda for 2009/10. Starts off positively I thought.

July saw the instigation and support of councillors for notice boards in the Western areas of Liverpool… to date this has been a forward approach to communicating with our fellow Liverpudlian

 June 09 councillors vote for school at HP road contrary to the wishes of the community affected.

Cllr Lucas commented when presenting the climate change initiatives trophy to council he received on the Canberra trip – “why me as I don’t believe in any of that global warming guff’

August saw 7 councillors put their names forward for the Local Govt Conf… I am still asking why we need 7 attendees at such a high cost to rate payers when two or three could represent and take notes followed by doing a briefing on their return.

The Liberal Independents  attempted to reduce the mayor’s salary by 20% (and failed) and limit the authority of the role.

The Liberal Independents question the validity of the referendum to elect our own Mayor… spent a couple of thousand to be told it was legitimate… there goes more rates dollars … for nothing. This because they openly said they believed councillors should choose a mayor. This was not of course a unanimous vote.

National tree day, although a success, the councillors wouldn’t know as none of them attended, this was mentioned to me by a number of attendees.

Cllr Harle still attends more forums than others however the western forum had three attend in August 09 – Cllr Hadchiti came with Cllr Harle and Cllr Lucas arrived later.  Seems the growing numbers and problems in the western forum got their attention, attendances didn’t however last long.

After many, many months of forum attendees lobbying,  we successfully now have the City News included in rates to residents… it was supported by councillors.

Council employs a town crier…. has anyone seen him yet…? He wasn’t at the Collingwood house open day, nor the Freedom of the city march… he did attend the Justices conference in July 2010 but I’m not sure what other functions he has attended. A good initiative for the Bicentennial however not completely capitalised on.

9.09  Work continuing on Pioneer Park, new road crossing being done  & Jan 10 Work continues on Pioneer Park, the raised walkway is completed… lots of fences around the park and trees removed. Not necessarily a councillor initiative however supported by all.

Graffiti community policy event… poorly attended, 6 residents (including myself) and one Clr – Lucas. Seems other councillors didn’t feel it important enough. Albeit they all insisted it was a major issue when electioneering and first coming into office.

09 Lee Rhiannon’s meeting with Casula  residents affected by the SSFL was a huge success and attended well. Two of the independent councillors did attend.

October 09: LCC fails to attract Fed funding for Masters Soft Ball, as 40 or so letters go unanswered according to the Soft Ball association members who had to borrow a tent to host the international committee meeting… questions need to be asked according to irate attendees at forums

Nov GM (Tolhurst) introduces visual management update for council meetings to keep the community informed; sadly councillors don’t ask questions but nothing new here.

Nov 23 Cllr Mannoun usurps process by including his personal agenda  item to  the CBD meeting notes to include items without the approval of the committee…. this was the first of several attempts this year to take credit, add his name or self promote… sad…but true as noted by the Mayor at the time.

Cllr Wendy Waller leaves colourful message on  Cllr Jim McGoldrick phone – gaining National media exposure again at our expense. We regularly get heaps of unwanted press about language, respect and now have a situation where the mayor and one of her fellow Labor councillors have a very public altercation now don’t speak, publically disagree and the pleasure of all the councillors harping and nagging about the situation.

As part of the Bicentenary celebrations early in 2010 Outdoor cinemas a real winner for the community again however Councillors were not to be found.

Bickering has continued throughout the year, with renegade Clr McGoldrick switching sides, teaming up with the Lib/Inds and then fighting them on other matters denigrating them in public media etc it’s been an interesting and hugely uninspiring year from our elected councillors.

Mayor Waller seems to have lost spirit or given up, after, too many to count, attacks and a barrage of nasty snide and inappropriate remarks from fellow councillors.

Some Councillors have communicated with the community through public online sites which would be great except once you disagree or have a different view they attack and vilify or have colleagues do it for them. Simply poor form councillors.

December 09: GM (Tolhurst) holds meeting with Business people at the library for ideas for the Parking strategy…. 30 or so business people, 2-3 councillors and plenty of council staff…. hope ran high for great input…

Dec 09: Council staff comes up with idea to gain a grant for noise walls…  still no answer June 10 but fingers crossed this could still happen for these poor residents. This received verbal support of the councillors however nothing compared to what they did in mid 2010.

Australia Day event a huge success, community and some councillors share a terrific community event to kick off 2010.

Councillors rank high:  13.1.10 sadly the Daily telegraph reports that Liverpool Councillors have amongst the highest expenses of all councils including $30,000 to send councillors to Broken Hill. Street corner 13.1.10 from Daily Telegraph article.

May 2010…child care debacle… costs involved brought councillors into a slinging match on public media, regardless of the desired outcome this got messy. “Local Councils spending our money”

Council staff: Garbage changes 12 month report came back indicating great acceptance of this council initiative, good results for the whole community. Well done!

June/July report: Councillors still leave a lot to be desired in their attendance at forums and briefings however attendance at Council meetings has been good. At the September  council meeting they will again sign up for committees etc : Pls councillors you are about to sign up again for another year of committee meetings, please only nominate if you intend on showing up, certainly there could be room made for other councillors to attend and not only to the committees that  offer overseas trips/perks etc. Sadly there are councillors who have pretty much not shown up more than once at some committees in the whole year.

Bicentenary Plusses and losses… Collingwood Friends event good, a couple of councillors attended which was great, however as they are often not speaking and this was clearly not a friendly outing.

Cllr Harle following up on the Prestons mining issue, no outcome yet however he has been admirably persistent. Results from the JRPP are not yet available to me… I will ask councillor Harle when I next see him.

 No Councillor attendees at the Freedom of City march… sadly a poorly attended community event to add to the ever growing list of things No councillors chose to attend. The Mayor however did.

Poor attendance of Councillors at forums and committees continues.

Councillors have  initiated work on 4 gateways and I believe there are others to come.

The Lib/Inds banding together to instigate change in/advice of long service leave brings council back into the public eye, with Unions, MP’s and staff employees stopping work on one occasion to fight the Long service and child care issues and on another occasion in support of the GM who was attempting to sort through the councillors oft unrealistic targets to reduce the debt burden. (While not addressing their own expensive trips)

Councillors are responsible in early to mid 2010: for staff Morale at council hitting a new low when these councillors created a situation that not only saw the GM resign  but public demonstrations against the councillors reached the evening news and major papers. Again in such a short time these councillors have brought us into disrepute on a major scale.

 The biggest shame this year has been the situation with the GM, where councillors so blatantly and so consistently harassed and abused Phil Tolhurst in council meetings and public that he quit, after a renewal of his contract in December, the constant barrage from numerous councillors got to be that  stretch to far. All brought to head in April. People from around the community spoke in support of the GM and asked him to stay however it had reached the point of no return.

July/August 2010: Cllr’s Mannoun, Hadchiti and Hadid sent out letters to the Wattlegrove community on council letterheads and paid for by council: raising concerns in the community that they were vote chasing on the council dollar all in the name of the intermodal.

Questions asked when some Liberal councillors stated “We will bring the intermodal down” against their own party’s decision to reward the area for having it (Mr Abbott in local press) refer June Champion . These same councillors then backtracking by saying they are only seeking community views… articles on streetcorner.com confirming this!

Liberal Independents (through an extraordinary meeting +costs)  push through $20,000 funding to support ‘fighting’ the intermodal at Moorebank.  No other local concern has garnered this much support or funding.

15th August, council chambers burn down

August 16th; Liberal Independents hold rally to support Liberal Candidate for Hughes. What should have been a rally to support the residents became a hugely political event, including the announcement that Cllr Harle would be a possible candidate for the upcoming state election. The Candidate for Labor spoke however no other political group was allowed the same opportunity.  Unsure of the outcome for the residents however the Liberal candidate was elected. 

August 2010 Pioneer Park coming together – this event did get the support of a number of councillors… Mayor Waller, cllrs: Mannoun, Harle, Hadchiti, Lucas, Stanley. Still no sign of Clr Karnib, Gilani, McGoldrick, Hadid or Napolitano

Thankfully under the emergency powers on the 19th the Acting GM announces Council moving to levels 2,  4,  6 of 33 Moore ST.  Commencing early September Guarantees no increase in rates due to fire, any additional impost from insurance fee’s will be accounted for out of existing reserves. Acting GM also announces search for new GM held off for 2 months whilst sorting through the fire situation and addressing needs of staff… understandably.

The Mayor has remained calm and collected under what must have been hugely stressful circumstances since the fire. Her public comments on the whole have been uniting and supportive.

August: Unwanted press continues when Gruen Transfer comments about infighting ‘who do they think they are Liverpool Council? We are now labelled in light of quip made on show.

Cllr Lucas considers stoning an appropriate punishment for arsonist…. really councillor we are in the 21st century and this kind of conversation is pretty abhorrent: reference Liverpool Papers

Good news: albeit the Mayor, A GM and staff did the majority of the work the Section 94 matter was resolved positively for the community by consistent lobbying of the minister.

Councillor Mannoun continues to push his fear for his safety in Liverpool press. Councillor if you don’t like the place or are so scared to ‘live’ here … MOVE!

Councillors voted to increase the number of attendees to TODA, in the sister city trip by reducing the travel to economy class… Cllr Hadchiti said in the paper it was not his goal to be selected however at the previous Council meeting his visible disappointment at not being selected obviously gave him pause for more thought on the matter after the council meeting.

Summary:

All in all it has been an awful year with these councillors… not a great deal achieved and way to much brought into disrepute and negative attention on our behalf by these elected officials. Many of us hoped having a more diverse group of councillors would support the community however alliances have been formed. I draw some relief in that sadly our neighbouring council seems to be attracting almost as much negative press and while I accept that the job is not all wine and roses, this particular group of councillors aren’t doing us any favours.

It’s time these ladies and gentlemen remembered why they signed up for this job.  I’ve heard one say that if they’d known it would be like this they wouldn’t have.

However, it strikes me while they concentrate more on their party differences rather than their local community nothing is going to improve. I have to add at this point that sadly the Liberal Independents have by far been the most objectionable in this area. The apathy and lack of interest generally from the Labor contingent can be put down to a couple of things perhaps, one losing their usual control over proceedings here in Liverpool and the constant haranguing of the 6 (7) other councillors. At absolutely every opportunity they make snide innuendo or unpleasant comments.  The resignation of the former GM seriously was brought on by the Lib/Inds, however the lack of support of the GM from the Labor members didn’t help.

I accept that my opinion is perhaps not the same as yours, the behaviour of the Mayor and Cllr McGoldrick was unacceptable. The treatment of council staff has been deplorable.  The fact that even though the chambers burned to the ground still doesn’t seem to have given these councillors some common ground and I’m seriously not looking forward to the councillors behaviour as they work through possibilities when it comes to what happens from here. I also accept there were other matters throughout the year… some I may have simply forgotten or failed to record, however on asking for assistance in compiling the positives for this list… I got NO replies or simply ‘I can’t think of anything’. It seems not too many in the community could think of anything either.

Please feel free to voice your opinion/comments here.

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