The council election is finally over. Yay! But as they say in the classics, be careful what you wish for. This is my open letter to the 11 councillors sworn in to office this week.
Dear elected representative of Wyndham,
Firstly, congratulations on being elected … I hope that you will enjoy the next four years and make those who voted for you pleased with their decision. People say council is about the three Rs – roads, rubbish and rates – and that is true. But it is also about another three Rs – respect, responsibility and reality.
Councillors, respect the position you now hold and the people you represent. It is not a right, it is a duty. People are relying on you to show leadership and vision for our city. If you want respect, you have to give to receive. Accept the responsibilities that come with the role. It means many hours and many sacrifices of your personal time. Don’t blame your predecessors for everything … you knew what you were getting into. Accept it and take responsibility to fix it.
Be real. If that means you make a few mistakes, so be it. Ratepayers aren’t looking for a slick, snake oil salesman – we want real people who understand the real issues and strive for real outcomes. Don’t pretend to be an expert in every field, because that is not realistic. Use the resources and people available to you. Politics, politicians and political agendas should have no place in council.
Be honest, accountable and available and you will be doing a good job. If you don’t already have a thick skin, develop one quickly. The public can be personal in their attacks. This is mostly unwarranted, but it is reality, and you will need to deal with it.
The media is another area where you have to perform. Get some training, listen to advice from trusted people – not sycophants – and think before you comment. Expect to hear from me via this column a fair bit in the next four years. I think I have always been balanced in my judgement and that won’t change.
If you have any news or events, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org