Avoid blaming the easy targets

Forum –

So much has been written about the financial crisis that has occurred with our local government.

Many have fallen into the trap, perhaps gratuitously, of joining a witch hunt and blaming our elected representatives.

I want to urge all residents to seriously consider the facts that have been identified by Dick Persson, the previous CEO and the acting CEO, but especially our councillors and particularly Jane Smith and Jillian Hogan.

Each has gone to lengths to analyse what happened financially for the Council from 2019 to late 2020.

I have watched and listened to all these people and it is evident that the contributing issues for the financial debacle are extremely complex.

These include the decision by the Baird Government to amalgamate a number of councils (which) presented an attractive solution to providing the high level of service people have come to expect but (which was ) not given the analysis it required to be a sound plan.

Perhaps too good to be true.

I don’t have access to any of the background to this decision but according to Mr Persson the only problem with the amalgamation was too many councillors.

So, he has a thought bubble that nine would be a far better number and, without any detail, asks for support from the community by means of a survey.

I have also extensively watched and listened to many Council meetings.

It became evident that the councillors were thrown into a new operating system with minimal preparation or resources.

I truly believe every one of them wanted to do their best for their community.

What happened to each of them over the months from October 2020 to the present has been cruel.

They presented the easiest target for all sorts of vitriol.

Sadly, very few came to their defence from both the dominant political parties.

Government representatives Shelley Hancock and Adam Crouch found it too easy and attractive to put all the blame on them.

Where is the responsibility of the appointed auditors and the CEO?

Mr Persson has neglected to identify those faults.

The Council administrative staff should have known all the financial facts, presented them to the councillors and given sound advice.

The councillors’ responsibility is to understand the needs of their residents, then set priorities for how resources should be spent.

I think they did their best to carry out their responsibilities and most of the failure lies outside their realm.

So, residents, I urge you to do all the consideration and research necessary, before being beguiled into blaming the easy target and taking revenge on our councillors.

Email, Apr 20
Helen Griffiths, Wamberal