Hardly shareholders … just unhappy customers

Central Coast Council Photo: Justin StanleyCentral Coast Council Photo: Justin Stanley

Forum –

I refer to the article in Coast Community News issue 276, where Central Coast Administrator, Dick Persson states under the heading “Financial recovery process begins”, that :as ratepayers you are shareholders of the Council”.

A shareholder is a person, company, or institution that owns at least one share of a company’s stock, which is known as equity.

Because shareholders are essentially owners in a company, they reap the benefits of a business’s success.

These rewards come in the form of financial profits distributed as dividends.

Shareholders also have a voting right at the AGM.

We have lived on the Central Coast in the Gosford LGA for 29 years and have never received a dividend or had the right to vote at an AGM, so what is being stated is ludicrous.

On the other hand, a stakeholder is a party that has an interest in a company and can either affect or be affected by the business.

The primary stakeholders in a typical corporation are its investors, employees, customers, and suppliers.

However, with the increasing attention on corporate social responsibility, the concept has been extended to include communities, governments, and trade associations.

As ratepayers, we are customers (stakeholders) of the Council.

(In return) for paying our rates, (we) expect the Council to provide the services we are paying for under the ratepayer agreement and within budget.

As stakeholders we do not have voting rights at an AGM, nor do not we receive dividends when the organisation is profitable.

As ratepayers the only input we have into the governance of the Council is when we vote in the councillors – they are the only representatives of the stakeholders and are, or should be, together with the CEO and CFO, fully responsible for the financial wellbeing of the Council.

The current financial position of Central Coast Council is not a result of any improprieties of its stakeholders but brought about by bad management and governance.

The worst offender of all has walked away with a $380,000 severance pay as a reward for his mismanagement – no explanation can possibly justify that.

Proposing to increase the rates by either 10 or 15 per cent without any other option as proposed in a letter received from Rick Hart who, like Mr Persson, is a fly-in fly-out and will not be subject to the increase, is not appealing and lacks imagination.

Along with many other Central Coast Council ratepayers, I vote NO to any increase and suggest Mr Persson and Mr Hart put their heads together and come up with a more innovative strategy.

This should include seeking compensation from the NSW Minister for Local Government who forced the amalgamation of the Wyong and Gosford councils to form Central Coast Council and the auditors who provided inaccurate financial advice.

I am also concerned about the secrecy surrounding the loans that Mr Persson has acquired and would like to understand what equity and voting rights he has given to the lender(s).

Email, Jan 27
Dennis Silvers, Narara