Business Specialist CFP | Local Government Expert | Political Adviser
This letter to the Editor of the West Australian caught me eye. It’s from a fellow Councillor from Belmont Council. This letter provides more evidence of the frustrations felt by elected members in representing their residents and ratepayers:
Since the introduction of the 1995 Local Government Act the powers of councillors have been eroded to the extent that they are no more than rubber stamps for reports written by CEOs, directors and managers.
The power of local government has shifted from the duly elected member (councillors) to local government managers, who are paid employees. This is a situation that needs to be reined in.
Councillors are more in touch with residents than any other tier of government and should not be treated like puppets.
One solution would be to get rid of the CEO position (a big cost savings) and replace it with the elected mayor (or president).
At present no matter how badly a CEO performs the residents have no say in his employment. Having a mayor in the CEO’s position would save ratepayers money and restore the mayor to their rightful civic leadership position.
The Minister for Local Government needs to make changes to the Act. Changes that will empower elected councillors who at present have miniscule power and rights.
The real power is in the hands of CEOs and the managers they keep.
Cr Margie Bass, Belmont
The West Australian, Letters to the Editor, My Point, Thursday, October 18, 2012, p.22