As a result of the intrigue my quest has created, the ABC invited me to attend their local government forum last Wednesday.
These are 3 top things I’ve noticed so far:-
1. TRUST is APPARENT
In the councils that work really well, I’ve observed there’s a trust between the elected members and the officers. The officers are all professional people with qualifications and experience, yet some councillors just don’t listen to them or their advice.
It often comes down to the dichotomy of service and power. When you’re sitting there as an observer you can often see the councillors who are there for service and see those that are there for power and trust underpins it all
2. DON’T SWEAT the SMALL STUFF
Some councillors get into the minute detail when it’s not necessary. I was at a meeting a few weeks ago where the council spent 20 minutes debating where the door should be on a commercial shed. It had no relevance for the community. Instead, looking at the bigger picture generally serves the community better.
3. DEBATE vs DISCUSS
The panellists have all used a word this morning and that word is debate.
A CEO said to me a few weeks ago that the problem with our councillors is that they talk, they don’t debate. They don’t understand they’re there to debate for the purpose of serving their community to get the best possible decisions. If they framed their top points well and backed each point with facts, it would save much time in needless discussion.
Hosted by Nadia Mitsopoulos at the ABC studios
Panellists – Minister John Carey
Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin,
Former Nedlands mayor Cilla de Lacy
Former Labor and Independent MP turned council commentator Larry Graham.
Invited guests – Dr Julia Crews – Ethics and Leadership expert, and David Julian Price – Master of Meetings.
You can hear my comments at 41:47 minutes into the discussion.
MY QUEST – To visit every local council meeting in Perth so I can share the wisdom from the best-run meetings with all my contacts. Now that the local elections are over the quests can continue.