TWEED SHire Council's corporate governance manager Neil Baldwin with the NSW Local Government Act he prepared for yesterday's talk.
TWEED SHire Council's corporate governance manager Neil Baldwin with the NSW Local Government Act he prepared for yesterday's talk. Craig Sadler/ Tweed Daily News

Scarcity of wannabe councillors

IT could have been billed as “who wants to be a councillor?”

But as a TV series it would have been an awful flop.

Only one Tweed citizen yesterday turned up to the first-ever Local Government Week presentation by the Council's corporate governance manager Neil Baldwin on “Becoming a Councillor”.

Previously similar talks have been held before council elections for prospective candidates, but a refocusing of Local Government Week activities towards information-based sessions convinced Council officers to offer the talk yesterday.

Two councillors, deputy mayor Barry Longland and Dot Holdom, turned up to support staff and offer their perspective.

But they outnumbered the only interested citizen, Ari Ehrlich, who turned up not because he wants to be a councillor, especially with the next elections more than three years away, but to learn about how the Council ought to work.

“I want to be informed,” said Mr Ehrlich. “I've been coming to a few Council meetings.

“I've got a few questions to ask about the process because I think their training is lacking. My main interest is being informed about the opportunities for true representation by Council, and I'm interested in transparency, with a focus to the community living sustainably.”

Cr Longland said he had always found similar sessions before elections interesting, partly to see who might stand as a candidate. Cr Holdom described such information sessions as “crucial”, adding there was “nothing wrong with education”.

Mr Baldwin said the Council was trying to offer a different focus during Local Government Week this year, abandoning costly exercises such as the bus tours of sewage treatment plants which, with morning teas, previously proved highly popular with retired residents.

“Yesterday (Monday) we kicked off with the launch of the community calendar and then there was a presentation on risk management at community events where we had about 10 people.”



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