Dys­func­tional or healthy democ­racy at work?

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

TOWN of Cam­bridge coun­cil­lor Louis Carr has claimed there is dys­func­tion in the coun­cil.

As coun­cil­lors were di­vided over the mo­tion to re­scind Amend­ment 33 at the Septem­ber coun­cil meet­ing, with nei­ther side of the de­bate will­ing to back down, Cr Carr said it re­sulted in dys­func­tion.

“There has been pro­cras­ti­na­tion, no com­mit­ment and changes of mind, which equals dys­func­tion,” he said.

“Any­one who has not been to a coun­cil meet­ing be­fore would think ‘WTF is go­ing on here’.”

Mayor Keri Shan­non said dif­fer­ences of opin­ion were a healthy part of democ­racy.

“My per­sonal opin­ion is that each elected mem­ber should rep­re­sent the in­ter­ests of ratepay­ers,” she said.

“When elected mem­bers fail to rep­re­sent the in­ter­ests of ratepay­ers then I think there is dys­func­tion in the coun­cil.

“There are a lot of un­happy res­i­dents in Wem­b­ley.

“In my opin­ion, we should all want good gov­er­nance and trans­par­ent process, and when er­rors in process be­come ap­par­ent, we should act to cor­rect the process.

”Western Aus­tralian Lo­cal Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (WALGA) pres­i­dent Lynne Craigie rec­om­mended me­di­a­tion as an op­tion to over­come dys­func­tion.

“Should they iden­tify a lack of har­mony amongst coun­cil­lors, WALGA en­cour­ages mem­bers to work col­lec­tively to ad­dress the is­sue be­fore it neg­a­tively im­pacts on their de­ci­sion-mak­ing abil­ity or the com­mu­nity as a whole,” she said.

“WALGA, to­gether with Lo­cal Govern­ment Man­agers Aus­tralia WA, have a con­fi­den­tial Peer Sup­port Team that pro­vides con­cil­i­a­tion, ne­go­ti­a­tion and me­di­a­tion sup­port to lo­cal gov­ern­ments that iden­tify is­sues of re­la­tion­ship con­flict be­tween coun­cil­lors, or be­tween coun­cil­lors and se­nior staff.”

The fu­ture of parts of Lot 8 Cam­bridge Street have been the sub­ject of long-run­ning de­bate.

Mayor Keri Shan­non.

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