Commissioner/CEO seek to influence who new councillors will be?

Sockpuppet wanted (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Public Domain

Canning has not fared well under administration.

It failed to seize the day on local govt reform, a valuable developer partnership was lost and costs skyrocketed.

We now have a CEO who apparently served less than full term at both preceding appointments – and a Commissioner who seems to act beyond his station as a “short-term, unelected government appointee“.

The State Govt’s own Inquirer, Dr Christopher Kendall, noted the situation at Canning today might not withstand the test of being returned to a democratic state.

So many changes, without any real input from the people who actually live here.

Possibly the most concerning outcome of Commissioner Reynolds’ legacy is still to come:  the unwillingness to institute an Advisory Panel of Community Members, as other Commissioners have done, could see our community stranded with no appropriately experienced representatives ready to nominate for the councils of the future.

The Commissioner knew then, and he knows now that the existing councillors of any council that may absorb us will have the experience, the “incumbency” to dominate and potentially prioritise their own areas under reform.  He said as much in his Open Letter to the Residents of Canning in March 2014.

(The Commissioner first ruled out instituting a Panel of Community Members in January 2013)

Yet years have passed and still there’s no sign of a sophisticated means of inviting the community in, as its council is pushed out, and thus helping it prepare for reform.

Instead, the Commissioner and CEO Lyn Russell have come up with a scheme to offer short-term, text-book training on rules and regulations to people in the community they think would make good councillors for the future:-

“A number of community members who have had dealings with Council over the last 15 months have displayed characteristics which would suggest that they have both the passion, interest and capacity to think strategically and to operate in the community’s best interests.

These potential candidates will be offered a pre-election training package, conducted over a series of weekends as outlined below. Participation in training will be publicly acknowledged.”

Does preferencing candidates for pre-election training strike you as unethical?  At least a Panel of Community Advisors would have been advertised for.

What about the City’s intention to make sure the public knows who got its classroom training?  Does it smack of interference in the process of democracy?

In what way does providing training units before someone may become a councillor replace the training packages offered by the Dept of Local Govt & Communities and WA Local Govt Association after someone does become a councillor?

What benefit (whose?) does it really serve?

The Commissioner has paid a lot of attention (and millions) to the staff’s future welfare – when is he going to let go of absolute control and allow us to prepare for ours?