Mayor breaks down barriers
It’s 7.30am and Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan has started work.
He is sitting at the Tin Goose in Cromwell talking to a member of the public who wanted to meet him and ‘‘say hi’’. Another couple has sat down at a table and is waiting their turn to say hello, and have a chat.
Cadogan introduced the ‘‘coffee and chat’’ sessions around the regions during his election campaign for the mayoralty as a way to try and bridge the gap between the council and community. He promised during the campaign he would continue the coffee mornings if he was elected and he has kept his word.
‘‘Why wouldn’t you do it? Firstly, I find out things I need to know and can try to help. Sometimes I can’t help but it is still good to know what is going on in the region. The other thing is it is breaking that disconnect down that I felt was there...go have a yarn with the mayor, they feel good, I feel good, everyone wins.
‘‘They are absolutely brilliant... the first lady here just wanted to say, ‘hi, how are you?’ and have a general chat. Another couple had some issues they wanted to discuss. It is great. I love it.’’
Issues raised had been broad, from rubbish to wandering dogs, he said.
‘‘It is just interesting what goes on and what people want. There has always been the ability to ring the council or the service desk but this is just another way of doing it. Sometimes people come to me with ideas.’’
Another scheme introduced since Cadogan took over the mayoralty was ‘‘councillor connection’’ where members of the public could ’’bend our ear’’ for 10 minutes before the council meeting, he said.
‘‘You can come to council with an idea or a problem - whatever the reason is for coming - you are talking to all the members in one go. It is really important we listen to the community...we are all one. We are just representatives of the community and make things happen.’’
After almost two months in the job, Cadogan said he ‘‘loved’’ the job and was not missing the courtroom.
‘‘This is an absolute privilege this job. The hours are really, really long... I’m probably averaging 65 hours a week but that’s OK. It is a wee bit tiring but the other thing you are doing is you are being with people and that is what I really love.’’
Roger Auburn, of Cromwell, meets Mayor Tim Cadogan, at the Tin Goose for a ‘‘coffee and chat’’.