Midland Reporter - - News - IRIS JONES, Les­mur­die

AS a res­i­dent of 36 years (that’s a lot of rates!), I of­fer some ad­vice to can­di­dates on the finer points of your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties if elected. You won’t find th­ese in any hand­book for coun­cil­lors but you can be sure this is what your res­i­dents ex­pect when we elect you into of­fice and pay for you to be there.

When you read the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act, know it is there to pro­tect both your­self and us. You will find a sec­tion deal­ing with vot­ing and declar­ing an in­ter­est. It is not rocket sci­ence and you won’t need to take ‘ad­vice’ from any source if you use the pub test, which is if you stand to gain any­thing from par­tic­i­pat­ing in a de­bate/vote, just don’t. Leave the room. It’s a no-brainer.

If you de­cide to con­sult with your com­mu­nity through a sur­vey, be aware that those par­tic­i­pat­ing ex­pect you to ad­here to the re­sults. If you dis­miss th­ese find­ings then you have just wasted their time, your time, staff time and, im­por­tantly, our money.

Want to know what your con­stituents re­ally think on an im­por­tant is­sue? Then be brave and run a proper ref­er­en­dum. Do it to co­in­cide with send­ing out elec­tion vot­ing pa­pers and it will cost very lit­tle to know what we think. If you dis­agree then re­think, as you may be in the wrong job.

Note that elec­tors’ meet­ings can be in­sti­gated by res­i­dents when they feel they are be­ing ig­nored. They are an alarm bell for un­rest and a heads-up that we are dis­sat­is­fied. Treat th­ese meet­ings se­ri­ously. We do. And it’s your job to lis­ten up, not dic­tate. Re­mem­ber, we pay the bills. If we get re­ally stroppy and stop pay­ing rates en masse, your coun­cil will col­lapse. It’s peo­ple power.

Don’t ig­nore the vot­ing at elec­tors’ meet­ings or do so at your peril, as we will pun­ish you at the bal­lot box. You are not there to know bet­ter but to hear us. If you don’t like what we are say­ing, then you need to con­vince us oth­er­wise. If you can’t, then you are not up to the job.

The say­ing goes ‘A coun­cil­lor’s lot is not a happy one’, but if you are se­ri­ous about rep­re­sent­ing us and wish to make a gen­uine con­tri­bu­tion to our com­mu­nity, we will re­spect you and sup­port you in all you do, but only if you obey th­ese ba­sic rules.

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