For years satisfaction with Local Government has declined faster than a Liberal opinion poll in Victoria. (ouch)
The Statewide Council Community Satisfaction results in 2023 showed that Council core areas of responsibility – roads, footpaths, parks, sports venues, pools, cleanliness, rubbish collection and recycling, and investment in infrastructure were falling to record lows.
It’s no secret that the “direction of Councils, and the ability to engage with residents is also in freefall”. People just do not feel heard by their councils.
Why? Because the administration of Councils has become too big and too commercial to understand how far they have really moved AWAY from the community.
Councils “consult” communities through third-party commercial consultation processes and no longer know how to sit down with locals and "have a yarn."
That consultation almost always is used to justify Council decisions that simply piss off the community.
Many Metropolitan Councils are so big and removed from “locals” with a massive proportion of the workforce working from home and employees do not need to live in the community they serve. This creates some issues for locals.
Officers make decisions, we have to live with.
By not living in or spending little time in the local community it becomes just that bit easier to foster the "us and them" culture councils are synonymous with.
We need a cultural revolution within CEO ranks. We need leaders from outside the sector who can modernise and shake up what is a culture stuck in the 80s and 90s school of management. God knows the current CEO talent pool is lacking. (Ouch again)
It won’t make me popular to say this. A review of the resumes of many Council CEOs shows a deficiency in experience that other sectors wouldn’t rush to accept.
Many CEOs have simply risen through the institutional ranks.
MERIT is the only way to appoint people being paid more than the premier to run our councils.
My advice to any Councillor hiring a CEO, google them, google their Council, google their PR disasters and drill down on how they handle those events.
It is always in the PR disasters that we see how well a CEO can perform. Can they instantly turn around the problem and bring the community closer to staff OR do they push residents away, gaslight them and state “the community is the problem”?
We need to have a grown-up conversation.
What is the role of Councils?
What do we want our Councillors doing?
How much power does the CEO have? Is it too much?
The problem is our Council administration does not want this conversation. Understandably they are frightened of it.
Councillors are fighting in record numbers amongst themselves missing the point…….and being distracted about what really matters. Sadly, the Councillor conduct system is being used to weaponise complaints between councillors and that is sucking a lot of time, energy and public money from the system - resulting in less focus on local issues. Shame on the Councillors who have become obsessed with lodging these all over the shop.
Can someone please put the responsible and sensible grownups back in charge?
Can someone please make councils stick to their lane and perform properly?
Can someone explain to Councillors that the BASICS and CORE Services need priority and attention urgently?
Yes, WE CAN.
But it will take ALL OF US. In the run-up to elections in late 2024, we must redefine what we want the role of Councils to be.
No more political activists, no more global issues – we must throw that Council garbage out with the reduced fortnightly rubbish collections forced upon us.
It’s time for us to express our collective power.
A great reset of Councils is imminent. We can and must do it.
LESS IS MORE.
If not, then we must disband this ego-driven, out-of-touch, narcissist industry that is sucking $12 Billion in public money from us each year.
It's now US or THEM - and I know we have the numbers. It will always be about US.
Victorians – let’s get off our bums:
join a local council watch group to be heard
invite everyone - people power has never been so important
consider running for council or supporting higher quality candidates in 2024
All it takes is a little effort and an email:
Signing people up has never been more important to the future of councils.