This week it was off to East Fremantle.
All 9 Councillors were present. The Mayor, Jim O’Neill has held that role for a very long time – and it showed.

He did something I have not heard before – he introduced every person sitting at the tables – councillors and staff. Having been to many council meetings where I was struggling to work out who was who, it was both helpful, and courteous – a nice touch I thought. This was particularly so as there were only 3 people in the gallery, including me.

It was not an eventful meeting and lasted 85 minutes. The mayor was very efficient in managing the debate. Every person was given the chance to speak, but once there was no further discussion, he quickly put each motion.

The Mayor used a technique many mayors use and that is to simply ask if there was any further discussion, rather than bouncing between for and against. If there was further discussion, it was balanced between the two views.

Every vote except one was unanimously carried. Voting was on the hands and was very quick and efficient.

The speaking count, apart from the Mayor, ranged as follows: 11, 7, 6, 6, 4, 3, 3, 2. The most noticeable thing about the councillors is that most spoke very concisely – said what they had to say, said it with clarity, and stopped.

There was an obvious healthy relationship between the staff and the councillors. Mutual respect for each person’s role was obvious.

The agenda was available online and no copies were available. That was fine. The minutes were displayed on a screen and unlike many councils I have visited, the text was large enough to be easily read from the public gallery. The only problem was there was no actual number or page number on the screen so it was difficult to know where exactly in the agenda they were at. The Mayor also told me later that it was also a problem for the councillors from time to time.

As far as I could see, the meeting was not live streamed which did surprise me but with only 3 in the gallery, and every motion (except 1) being unanimous, I guess the demand is not great although changes recently announced by the Minister may change that.

A nice touch I thought was that it was announced that the CEO has implemented a policy of flying the Ukrainian flag every 2nd day. Additionally, the Mayor himself, appropriately moved a motion to make a donation to the Red Cross for Ukraine.

There was strange motion I have not seen for a very long time and that was “That the motion be heard”. It did not seem to achieve anything and its value was the subject of some discussion between the Mayor and CEO afterwards.

#localgovernmentquest #quest #davidjulianprice #localgovernment #work #change

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