Mayor introduces Open Public Forums
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.