Keep 12 Councillors
It was an exhausting and costly affair and involved an external consultant.
Consideration was given to:
- Do we have a Mayor or Presiding Member?
- Is the Mayor elected by the people or by the Council?
- Do we retain the name of the City ie. keep Unley?
- How many Wards?
- How many Councillors per Ward?
- What are the boundaries?
The only changes were:
- Change a Ward name - Goodwood South became Clarence Park.
- Minor changes to the Ward boundaries.
The saga formally concluded at the December 2013 Council meeting with a motion to receive the report/certification from the Electoral Commissioner.
The vote at Council was 9 in favour and 1 against.
(Councillor Saies voted against the motion.)
Given this outcome 4 months ago, I was surprised to find a letter from Cr Saies in today's Advertiser (06-May).
Here is his letter without further comment ...
If Councillors are relegated, as they often are, to rubber stamping the agenda of their administrations, then not only should they be treated as volunteers - with their remuneration limited to payment of allowances to only cover their legitimate expenses - but their numbers should be culled.
In the City of Unley, for example, the deliberations of 12 councillors don't guarantee any better outcomes than the deliberations of, say, six councillors.
However, the real debate ought to be around whether councillors should be undertaking a more meaningful role in the development of policy and, therefore, providing the communities they serve with more bang for their bucks.
As this sort of reform is unlikely to be initiated within the ranks of local government, it will, inevitably, have to be imposed from above by the State Government.