Some have asked “Why do I ‘stick up’ for Canning’s suspended Council?”.
Mayors and Councillors are frequently targeted by a displeased public – their role is the most prominent to us.
We believe them to be the ones “in control”.
CanningAccountability has shown in other posts that the Councillors have nothing like the power of Ministers, don’t control the day-to-day functioning of the City, how business is actioned, or how long it takes to get done.
So it is difficult to believe that only a handful of people can be responsible for all the problems complained about at the level of local government.
Local Govt CEOs earn between $200-$300,000 dollars. The senior executives closer to $200,000, and many managers over $100,000.
Councillors only receive around $200 a week (taxable), with Mayors receiving between $30-$60,000 annually as an allowance.
Wages bills (Canning has around 640 employees) can exceed annual rates revenue, leaving Councils dependent on govt grants to function.
Given how much Council administrations cost these days, it is important to have Councillors in place to scrutinise spending.
Commissioner Linton Reynolds, understandably, is unable to assess staff recommendations as 11 Councillors would. Authority is being delegated away to public servants.
Development plans are being pushed through, negotiations over mergers with other Councils is occurring, costs are rising as control of Canning remains in the hands of paid staff.
Since the Council came under investigation last year, the “community consultations”, which need to be more thorough now than ever, have been relegated to post-it pad responses to highly controlled questions, general answers from consultants floating around the room, and thin documents of limited information (the recent online local govt reform survey the City of Canning rushed out at last minute).
The longer these investigations go on, the more residents are having their future and funds determined by people they did not vote for.
If the 2nd investigation takes longer than six months, the people of Canning may be stopped from voting alongside the rest of WA in the next local govt elections.
At the end of all this upheaval, there is the strong possibility our Councillors would not be voted back in any way, Acts governing local govts and how they are conducted changed, and we may or may not have the same executives and staff still in place.
It is with hope, then, that the 2nd inquiry will respect the people of Canning more so than was accorded us during the 1st inquiry, investigating all parties involved in excessively drawn out council resolutions and actions, not withhold any further evidence from public view, and understand our desire to be able to control our own destiny again from October.
The second inquiry in to Canning becomes active from April 1st, 2013 and will be conducted at the City of Canning administration offices.