Mayor in­tro­duces Open Pub­lic Fo­rums

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - SOUTH WAIKATO DIS­TRICT COUN­CIL

South Waikato mayor Jenny Shat­tock has an­nounced she will in­tro­duce Open Pub­lic Fo­rums at the start of ev­ery coun­cil meet­ing day.

Open Pub­lic Fo­rums, which will be­gin on Novem­ber 17, is an ini­tia­tive Shat­tock said she was keen to in­tro­duce af­ter talk­ing to peo­ple dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign pe­riod.

‘‘One thing I did hear while cam­paign­ing...is that peo­ple want to be heard, ‘‘ she said.

The aim is to im­prove the coun­cil’s en­gage­ment with the com­mu­nity.

‘‘I had heard of other coun­cils that have in­for­mal ses­sions for peo­ple in the com­mu­nity to raise mat­ters - be they pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive, bring ideas to coun­cil­lors or even just up­date coun­cil­lors on com­mu­nity groups and what they are do­ing in the dis­trict,’’ Shat­tock said.

‘‘In speak­ing with so many peo­ple over the elec­tion pe­riod I found that peo­ple are keen to en­gage more with Coun­cil, but need more op­por­tu­ni­ties and av­enues to do so; and the key was, less for­mal.’’

The Open Pub­lic Fo­rums will oc­cur ev­ery third Thurs­day at 9.30am be­fore the start of each coun­cil meet­ing day. The ses­sion will be half an hour long and has been cre­ated to foster reg­u­lar face-to-face op­por­tu­ni­ties, di­rect with coun­cil­lors.

Open Pub­lic Fo­rums will not oc­cur on the days that the coun­cil has ci­ti­zen­ship cer­e­monies.

‘‘It is un­likely that de­ci­sions on in­tro­duc­ing new ini­tia­tives will be made at the fo­rums. How­ever any po­ten­tial ideas that the coun­cil is re­ally keen on ex­plor­ing fur­ther will be taken up by staff and pro­gressed, likely in con­junc­tion with the per­son who raised the idea,’’ Shat­tock said.

She said she was pleased with the re­sponse from coun­cil­lors and that ev­ery­one was sup­port­ive of the idea and is look­ing for­ward to hear­ing from peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

Shat­tock re­minds ev­ery­one that the bulk of the reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing day was held in pub­lic and peo­ple were al­ways wel­come to lis­ten to the meet­ings from the pub­lic gallery.

The move is the first ma­jor change Shat­tock is mak­ing af­ter she was elected as the South Waikato’s mayor last month re­plac­ing long­time mayor Neil Sin­clair who wasn’t seek­ing re­elec­tion.

She said it was an ex­cit­ing time to be lead­ing the coun­cil.

South Waikato mayor Jenny Shat­tock.

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