Just when you thought things were going to quieten down for the summer break I decided to read the minutes from last Wednesday’s council meeting. lol
9 Items were discussed in confidence, that is 9 this month 14 last month that council considers so secretive we need to be left out of any of their discussions or detail. While I accept there are things that need to be protected, like a residents name and personal details etc, how many times can we be left in the dark and told its okay?
Mayor Waller however does plough through the agenda quickly and so far none of the meetings have ventured into the 11pm finish zone as they did in the past.
A couple of things that I paid particular attention to, of course one being the selection of the New CEO… we are yet to be told who will be managing our hefty business and all I can say is that while most of us were not privy to who were in the final three, it seemed very clear that some members of the LCIT political party were well aware. In fairness I had guessed that the present acting CEO was likely to be amongst them and her being called to speak was confirmation, however even the other candidates arrival was through a different set of doors to ensure we, the paying public, had no clue. All I can say is appears that secrecy was not necessarily kept for all of us and when I dug a little deeper with the LCIT members they quickly realised I was perplexed that it appeared they had confidential information not available to the rest of the ratepayers. They did say along with the ACEO, the former CEO of a named local council and a woman were the other two… Until the formal announcement is made I guess we’re left wondering. I do hope that if not successful the present A CEO remains in council, she is a valued member of staff from what I can see and appears to have a genuine community engagement focus, something I most certainly value as a resident. I am also very hopeful of a truly competent and capable addition to our staff.
The other thing that concerns me a little is that as your representative on the Environmental Advisory Committee a position I have proudly maintained for a number of years now, the committee is being amalgamated with the floodplain committee, something not all members necessarily favoured. That said we held our last meeting of the EAC last week and the chairperson, Cllr Harle declared he was a member of the Liverpool Action Group, two other members failed to declare their membership of the same group, no big deal I guess as the councillor has always been supportive of the environment, however on reading the minutes of the last council meeting for 2016 it was announced that a former councillor was now on the new floodplain committee, he too is a member of LAG and a long time vocal opponent of the EAC and the use of funds. For your information we have been having a number of discussions regarding the use of the Levy. I believe as one of the longest standing members of the committee that the funds are ‘bound’ to be used specifically for environmental use, including the establishment of a community nursery and environmental centre, as you have heard me mention on numerous occasions. Our former CEO Mr Wulff appeared hell bent on absorbing those funds into a general revenue fund for use somewhere else in council, clearly stated during one council meeting. Getting the original business papers and original funding documents are proving quite a chore and have been on the request list for almost a year.I am sure there are good reasons, I’m just not sure what they are. I cannot tell you why there is so many delays however we would have had the nursery up and running a year or more ago if it had not been for the constant roadblocks put in front of the committee and now we see the former councillor may again be in a position to renew his efforts to stymie the entire environmental program if he so chose. (this is well documented here as I’ve written extensively on this before) If, as is the norm, all members will have the ability to vote on issues before the committee LAG will now have 4 members who could potentially vote in a block and undermine the rest if the elected members. I would like to hope I am wrong however two of those members have already indicated they would like to see the funds used elsewhere rather than on the Enviro/Nursery. Just so you are aware, the nursery was to allow council to save money (our rates) by propagating and growing local species of plants and trees for use in the LGA rather than buying them commercially and the enviro centre was to be set up so members of the community could see/experience different types of home lighting, wall treatments, water saving devices etc etc could work in their own homes with the added bonus of some of the rooms could be hired out by members of the community as a n offset for any costs. It’s disturbing to see the focus being redirected against such things, that could benefit the entire community. While I agree that one argument for more staff is valid, it is not impossible for that to be achieved as well as the Enviro/Nursery where the community could benefit from in situ examples that only a purpose built facility could provide. I have heard that a number of staff positions have lay empty for some time shows that either council is unwilling to fill them or worse no one wants to work in Liverpool. Clearly I am not privy to the details however I would like to reassure you, as your representative I will fight for the levy money you pay goes exactly where you are paying for it to go, restoration and maintenance of the environment and to fulfil the established goals under which it was granted. No doubt if I have misunderstood the intent of some of the members or staff, they may certainly post their view here for all to see. For the record I have worked with some of these individuals in the past and bear no malice towards any of them, I just don’t understand how one local group can potentially garner so much power in any one committee.
Council is a complex place, we have numerous matters on public exhibition presently or just closed, we need to ensure that the community is well represented and heard and I applaud the fact we can comment and am disappointed that so few actually do.
Another issue discussed was the repurchase of part of the former council chambers site. AKA No: 1 Hoxton Park Rd. This was approved by councillors and would mean from what I could gather mean some of the staff may return to the old site if we can purchase it for the maximum cost of what we sold the entire block.
As I tweeted during the meeting council approved the renewal of the netball courts for the competitions they have secured for the coming two years. Questions were being asked as to why the courts were in such disrepair and to be frank there are a number of us who wouldn ‘t mind the answer to that question as well. All those supposed repairs done under the watch of the previous council I’m afraid, and hopefully not impinged on by the #formerpowermadmayors (I still love saying that) stadium agenda. I guess we will never know but it is nice that the thousands of Liverpool women (mainly young women) netball players will participate in and attract a good number of visitors to our local businesses.
This is just the tip of the council minutes and I will leave it to you to have a closer look if you are interested. http://liverpool.infocouncil.biz/Open/2016/12/CO_20161214_MIN_309.PDF
What I would like to do however is thank all our fabulous staff for their diligence and commitment throughout the year, thank them for their efforts and wish you and all of them a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year. A few have left over the year and a couple will not be returning next year, some for babies others for different reasons and I wish them well.
I may not have written as often as I should this year, be it busy with elections etc, or saddened we’ve lost friends and I have been a little remiss in recognising efforts and achievements however we have the most amazing city, the people are second to none and we live harmoniously in good cheer and respect. I look forward to spending time with you all in the New Year and wish you safe and happy holidays. (Reserving the right to pop back in if there is something I need to share, ie a submission due on the 21st)
As always these are my personal opinions, based only on what I’ve heard and seen myself, if you have a different perspective or view, please share it and I will post it here. The more people sharing information the better imo and I would be the first to post it here if more detailed or accurate information were made available.
Merry Christmas from all of mine to all of yours.