Life as a First Term Councillor

This month I shared about Life as a First Term Councillor in the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Post. Text below.

I’m thankful to the residents of Roseville and Lindfield for electing me in 2017 and I encourage newcomers to run for council.

While those who get elected will hit the ground running, they will rarely possess all the skills required to fulfill their duties, skills such as finance, law, planning, infrastructure, environment, waste services, and heritage. In early years, great reliance is placed on council officers who have more experience, and sometimes mistakes are made.

Fortunately, the peak body (Local Government NSW) offers optional training and networking events to share best practice with other councillors and general managers. Not many councillors take on these opportunities for professional development, however they have helped me become more effective in listening to the community, challenging project assumptions, and delivering for ratepayers.

Like any new starter it took time to familiarise with the council’s systems, processes and organisational culture. Ku-ring-gai residents should be proud of our road maintenance, financial reporting, and waste collection. However, I’ve also come to realise that other services can be better, and I hope that next year we will have councillors who take their civic duties seriously and seek to change the status quo.

I encourage all residents to think carefully before they vote. You want new blood to bring in fresh ideas. You also want to retain capable experienced councillors for stability as it takes a few years to skill up and contribute meaningfully. But beware of those with long tenures; long tenures may affect a person’s capacity to exercise independent judgement.

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Life as a Councillor

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