Last weeks council meeting was pretty much everything one has come to expect. Cllr Stanley got rightly screwed over in the committees department, while her fellow labor members got token space on a couple of committees. Cllr Balloots pre-prepared and scripted rendition of who can and can’t attend committees was a copy of last years, just changing some of the names. Pretty insulting in many ways and certainly not true representative engagement OR worse using peoples skills (those who have some) where they could be most useful.
Cllr Waller asked the same question I did about the $65,000 honorarium payment to Professor Ed Blakely and I was surprised to hear he was paid $50,000 last year and that he is at council 2 days a week…hmmm really? Of course Cllr Hadchiti sang his praise and as always the Liberal majority passed everything they wanted as a matter of course. I am not disputing Prof Blakely’s credentials, what I am questioning is the amount of money we’re paying from our rates to one individual even if he spends 2 days a week on council….he is not elected by the people who are paying for his input and in this case the amount is just shy of what we pay the Mayor. Consultants (it was confirmed) cost Ratepayers a LOT of money and I can’t see where there is any attempt to minimise the costs to the ratepayers.
The trend to keep moving dollars around from the floor doesn’t seem to have lost its shine, 20,000 here why not double it… lucky for the ratepayers the council staff have an idea of how things work or these councillors would just give away the shop.
The of course there was the election of the deputy Mayor, Cllr Ristevski and Cllr Karnib were both nominated, you’ll never guess who got elected….but for 6 months not the usual 12 months. Cllr Ristevski will be the deputy and with his record of attending less than 50% of his committee meetings one has to ask will there be even more community events unattended. Word from the community is there are quite a few already left without the invited guest in attendance. Time will tell as always and as there will be another election in 6 months will it be a case of everyone in the Liberal party getting a ‘turn’ at being deputy.
The Badgerys Creek airport task force didn’t get a mention, while I wasn’t surprised as it wasn’t on the agenda, it did surprise another community member who had come along specifically to see who was going to get the guernsey. Sadly this committee will not get the fair and reasonable community involvement that the No Intermodal group has managed again time will tell.
There is also a laughable trend happening with voting. As I’ve mentioned the Liberals have a majority, and can and do pretty much get whatever they want passed…however on some issues the propensity for calling a division has me asking why…..? Who is it ‘they’ want to know they voted for or against… is there a specific target, is there a particular section of the community who needs to know that this Lib and that Lib all voted for their issue or is one-up-man-ship the new game of choice? The other confronting issue is why is there such disunity in the Labor group, while I’m assured they don’t caucus, just watching their voting clarifies this completely. I have never seen the failure of one Labor persons motion being debated when they couldn’t even get a seconder for the motion from their own team member. While each individually is elected to represent the community, one has to ask why wouldn’t there be similarities in their voting based on Labor values. It certainly seems like the Liberal party either caucus, or are given their speeches prior to the meeting, poor Cllr Mamone was left to read one proposal that she clearly had no idea about… and if this is the case, who is doing the writing, who is doing the deciding and making the decisions?
Opening up the mall to evening traffic was a bit of a surprise, last we heard there was community consultation but listening to council seems decisions have been made, not all of them imo good for Liverpool… and not good that changes are being made simply because they have the numbers. As Cllr Waller said, Liverpool actually has a well functioning mall, why undo it, improve its appearance yes but change it, why?
Parks were debated and some comments made about involving more of the LOCAL community in the discussions, but in fairness not just immediate vicinity locals who use our parks and all discussions regarding whether or not they should be sold for ever should be put to the entire community for comment. As I said last week, we should be holding onto our open spaces not simply selling them off for a quick buck.
Lastly a member of the gallery asked me if I knew why the NEW CEO appeared so unengaged? Quite frankly I thought at his first meeting he was just getting used to the process but this last meeting had others ask if he even knew what was going on. As I said previously I’ve not had a conversation with him and am hopeful he is finding his way and will do soon. I do have to ask though if all the changes in staff will have a positive affect or as I fear a sad and unsettling impact on staff? There have been a number of staff leaving Liverpool and I am sure I am not alone in wishing them well wherever they go.
That’s if for now, not a lot to report, the Mayor insists over 5000 attended the Starry Sari night event, however those in attendance tell me more likely a couple of thousand at best. Exaggeration or hopeful thinking I don’t know however I do hope considering the large amounts of rates money being used we see a good result for Liverpool, sometime soon.
til next time, if you have a different view or attended something let me know, I will post your opinions… and they are welcomed.