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How your local Government thrives on conflict !&*#?
Conflict is the oxygen of the methods of local government.
Federally Australia's government is made up of different political persuasions called "PARTIES." This is the basis of the adversarial type of government we are used to.
The voters accept that within these political groups there will be another break up of each party to split into factions. These can be left, right or centre or religious, but all of them are there to stroke the egos of individuals who are now belonging to a particular group and believe they have the intellectual superiority on all of the other factions within their own party.
This gives them perceived power, which was demonstrated in the boil over of the dismissal of Kevin 07 in June 2010.
Local government is no different.
Councillors are elected from rigid electors. These persons do not thrive on change, they elect the person of least resistance; that is, those who will not cause any waves or disturb the way of life of these voters who want things to stay as they are.
Mostly voters in the country are inherited landlords who do not have to make decisions about their future but can in the main, carry on in the same way their forebears have lived and worked their lives since European settlement.
There are not many in this group who have broken the mould and led from the front who get elected; because they are seen as out for their own ends, and not for the "Mob."
The bulk of the electors are frightened to vote for change as they are terrified of any person who is slightly different. Be they of the opposite sex to the ruling one, gay or homosexual, (although when it comes to a crucial vote within a council, this group are courted without shame).
So although the factions are not as clear in a council they are nevertheless clear cut to the elected members and they shamelessly flaunt their preferences.
If someone outside the clique happens to be elected by popular vote especially if it happens to be a women then that person may expect discrimination from the first meeting.
They may not be afforded a seat around the council table initially or may be given an oath of office that is out of date or not relevant.
The established councillors will be scathing in their criticism of this person and will spread rumours that confidential information is being leaked from this person and will report the person to any one who will take any notice. No matter whom it is; this person will be ostracised and talked about to cause mischief. Insiders who are in thrall of the councillors or gain some advantage from business or organisation will be recruited to increase any perceived breaches of regulations to the wider community.
The target of dissent by local government against a business in their area
This is especially noticeable when a business not obliged to the system for its existence; establishes itself within the town.
If the business proves itself successful; first of all it generates jealousy from other like minded businesses with the tacit support of the establishment. There must be a reason for this apparent success. It cannot be because the operators of the business can see their opportunities and work harder at servicing their customers than older businesses.
Rumours abound during election time that the business under notice must have connections with the criminal element in the State.
The opposition goes into full overdrive to destabilize this business or businesses. They will make up building laws which are not in fact true to their local by-laws and they will take the business to court for penalty even if other favoured business are in breach of the same type of by-laws, to make an example of them. This has been proved by lawyers acting for the shires spouting off the statement "that this person should be made an example of".
In this age of cyberbullying it is not uncommon for other businesses affected by a new businesses success to post unfounded comments and lies to cosy up to your local government to show that they are on their side!
Councillors when consulted to avoid confrontation seem to be powerless to stop the juggernaut even when they promise to intervene on the complainant's behalf. They are unable to short circuit the administration who has cleverly taken advantage of the laziness of councillors who have given away their powers in order to have a quiet life.
When it comes to a councillor trying to be assertive he or she finds they have completely given away their power. They may as well not attend council meetings for all the good it does the electors.
Being part of the "in" crowd.
Councillors like to be thought of in a good light. This means that they suck up to the relevant minister of government in order to curry favours down the track.
This is noticeable with the shift to amalgamation of country and to a lesser extent city local governments. Those that seek future favours quickly fall into line and make decisions in line with the government no matter what their electors express a wish for.
The heads of the new amalgamated shire are chosen. That is those with the least amount of experience and the largest egos. Bully boys are the norm.
Perks of the job.
Visits to Canberra (the porn capital of Australia) are the icing on the cake. All expenses paid for and a good time is going to be held by all.
But Wait!! Isn't the new Prime minister a WOMAN!
How are we going to get through this? We don't like women!!
Do we have to shake hands with HER?
CEO's have no friends.
Although they may belong to various groups this is only a front for real genuine human contacts. They pretend they are able to shift the goalposts in order for that group to realize its particular vision for the future.
Outside of their particular area the only real persons they can relate to are others within the local government clique. I am sure the conversation is mainly about how "their council" is out of touch with the population and how they have been manipulated to suit the future plans of the C.E.O. without being aware of it.
A strategy for new C.E.O.'s is to create conflict from the first weeks of their tenure.
Because of their experience in watching those above them in the food chain on their rise to the top they will see in their new post many opportunities to create division in this new community without them personally being affected. When your C.E.O. changed then watch for the signs. You have been warned.
Letters on Friday
A popular trick is for the local government administration to write to a "Troublemaker/activist on a Friday.
The reason for this is to give the recipient a bad weekend.
Of course if you have been troubled before by this tactic then you know and expect a stern letter on a Friday and post it to all your friends for a good laugh.
Your local government Web page.
Because of the lack of general English expression flowing through local government you are sure to find glaring errors in spelling and grammar which is magnified by the exposure to the world. A good look at the layout and English expression and spelling would be advantageous to the reputation of your local government.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Establishment ins and outs
This is not completed yet so it is still open to change and alterations
How your local government can destroy your organisation.
At a certain time individuals become disillusioned about the treatment between themselves and their local government body. This could take the form of ignoring letters written to the body or well thought out suggestions to improve your town or environment. Local government especially dislike "suggestions" on how to improve their particular fiefdom which is the environment outside the townships.
The clearing of road verges is a particular example. Very often there is no reason to clear indiscriminate scrub with a few trees on the road verge while ignoring tall trees and thick bush which comes right to the road verge and would be a hazard to any person who is trying to flee bush fires and is trapped by a raging inferno and may lose their lives.
The Chief Executive Officer. (for the sake of clarity the Chief Executive Officer is written as a male person).
If he runs to the current profile of heads of local government he has hand picked the councillors, sometimes massaging the figures to get the result he wants. If the officer misses out on one or two tame ones, the officer manipulates the rest of the "Team" to isolate these persons so that they have no say in the governance of the locality and soon leave very disillusioned.
These days the council gives the chief officer the final say over who is given a job in the office and who is not. Usually he chooses persons who have low self esteem, or lower than the Officers own.
Preferably with small or no qualifications they can be bullied by his so far, superior knowledge. He usually promotes the chosen few of his employees above their capability. Then he can ridicule them as bad examples if they fail in any aspect of their position. It has been observed that a chief executive officer has yelled at his own appointed staff officer at the customers counter for all to observe.
The education that elected representatives have, could be up to university standard or maybe they left school at fifteen years of age to work on the family farm. In any case both groups have a dislike of knowledge, and although they are responsible for millions of dollars in the budget they usually cannot understand any figure work presented to them.
They tend to avoid showing up to intellectual gatherings because they would be well out of their depth.
If they show up to open these gatherings they usually embarrass themselves because of the platitudes they mouth and because they have heard an expression in some other context, they like to slip it into their speeches whether it is appropriate or not, to appear knowledgeable.
Although they are quite willing to front organisations which show off a facet of Their town and your local government representatives are quite popular at openings of Fetes and Baby Shows.
They are quite willing to be seen to be on influential committees in your town, but that will be the extent of it. They can only be seen as an influence; because they have no skills to contribute to the moving forward of any organisation.
The hiding and using funds granted for other purposes is quite common. It has been observed that the proceeds of a sale of a property belonging to your local government has been transferred to general revenue and used for the building of another project. The granting of monies to your local government for bush fire purposes has also been found to be hard for the "Firies" to access for the purpose to which it was granted.
A new active group being formed in your district is very frightening to your local government.
This is because the pool of knowledge you now have by banding together is greater and more diverse than the one person with equal or less knowledge who has the power in your local government.
Your organisation is a threat because being new it is not bound by convention applying to other groups in the town.
You will have chosen for your committee those who are slightly radical in thought word and deed. And your local government hates them already. Even though they have just been elected and have no runs on the board about the direction of this new organisation.
Your local government will have placed each one of your colleagues in a box and they will never be able to do enough to break out of the mould your local government has put them in.
Now is the time for rumours and hurtful gossip which can be spread around any table the incumbents of local government find themselves. For instance if one or more of you has been active in improving your environment or criticize any aspect of recycling then you personally will be held to ridicule.
If you happen to be a "Greenie" then all of the above applies to you alone.
They chastise the committee among themselves for any small thing they can find that they lack themselves, like writing intelligent letters, speaking out, and working for the good of others.
Your group because it capably does all of the above is disliked almost to the point of hate because your local government assemblage seldom place themselves in a position where they can be criticized.
You will be aware that if members of your local government are eligible to join your organisation as an ordinary member then they will join to get inside knowledge on your future strategy via your minutes..
Sometimes if they can, they will get one or more of their own onto your committee then you are stymied as far as keeping things confidential from your local government.
These moles on your committee are a danger to the smooth running of your group. They can lead the group into uncharted territory by fooling the rest of the members into thinking they are doing something positive. But really they are being manipulated into being pawns in the game of us versus them.
The aim of these moles is to completely disrupt the committee by spreading untruths among friends and seeking to disband the committee. If they cannot do this they may resign en masse and leave your committee without a quorum.
This is a common tactic and when your first form your committees you must be aware of this maybe happening to your group, so plan for disaster and you will be prepared for change.
The resignation of your core body can also be a good thing. With a revived committee and all willing to do their best and without the drag caused by moles things can improve dramatically.
Within your constitution there usually is provision for dismissing members for either bringing your organisation into disrepute or speaking in their capacity as your local government representative against the organisation. If your committee can prove this as a fact then you would have proper grounds for excluding them legally from being a member.
This will damage their ego although they will boast otherwise, but only the shallowest of their supporters will believe them. Your members would probably see this move as standing up for them and approve wholeheartedly although few will say so openly
Even so, it is common for one of your members to be a sleeping mole and feed information back to your local government. But a mole as an ordinary member can be controlled and fed information that will mislead your local government and send them on an investigation that may be completely without any truth to it.
By the time they find out they have been misled by their own person they may not trust the information being fed to them any more.
The committee of your organisation will also be accused of not representing your members. Your local government will accuse some of your committee of pushing their own barrow and twisting the organisation to reflect only the individual views of your committee member.
This attitude is common with your local government also. They govern as councillors with the express wish of getting favourable treatment either in their business or personal lives. Although they cannot vote on these matters themselves they are quite capable of speaking to their fellow members before the voting to ensure the right outcome.
Individuals who have the necessary skills to write to the Minister of Local Government or a controlling body like the Tripple C are especially despised.
Unfortunately these bodies and individuals protect your chief executive officer because he has been cultivating networks all the time he has been on the upward path in local government and has friends in high places who; will send the confidential information to your local government as soon as it reaches them; or; will bury your complaint at the bottom of the filing drawer.
But for you there is some hope. If you are able to find a gem in a department who either by seniority or long service knows where the bodies are buried he or she can pass on to you the part of the Act which you can use to embarrass your local government and make them conform to the Act.
They will hate you for it, but that is the price of a whistleblower.
Although your chief executive officer knows the Act, he will not let his councillors know. He hopes that your local government body can bluff its way out of any situation. But if he cannot do this and they are caught out he will blame the councillors and absolve himself from the responsibility completely.
Tue 23 August, 1994
Personality conflicts most common cause of breakdown in good local government
Portfolio: Local Government
An analysis of 16 formal investigations of councils has identified personality conflicts as one of the most common causes of problems which ultimately lead to a breakdown in good local government.
Local Government Minister Paul Omodei said personality conflicts between councillors, between councillors and staff or between councillors and the mayor or president were evident in 11 of the 16 councils formally investigated since 1989.
"When personal animosity becomes entrenched in councils, you see a range of problems including discrimination, poor judgement, lack of control, deceit and low morale," Mr Omodei said.
"Ultimately, the proper functioning of the council deteriorates and in some cases can virtually grind to a halt."
Mr Omodei today released a comprehensive analysis of the 16 inquiries entitled 'Problems to Avoid' which identifies many of the common problems faced by councils.
He urged councillors and staff to read the report so they were aware of potential problems as a first step to avoiding them.
The report notes that while a relatively small number of Western Australia's 142 councils experienced serious and sustained problems, the general reputation of other local governments was in danger of being tarnished by the actions of the few.
While the majority of problems involved no impropriety in a legal sense, they were indicative of either a breakdown in the operation of unbiased, objective government or a breakdown in the public perception of how local government should operate.
Mr Omodei said problems relating to the manner in which council meetings were conducted and the recording of proceedings were also extremely common and could have serious ramifications.
The problems included lack of control at meetings, ambiguous or unclear motions and resolutions, activities being undertaken without councils giving formal authorisation and failure to comply with council resolutions.
"Also notable are the problems caused by lack of minuting. This can have serious legal repercussions as the minutes of a council meeting provide a historical and legal record of the meeting," he said.
"They should be a true record of what decisions have been made and what action is required to be undertaken by officers, as well as evidence that a council has acted properly, evidence of delegated authority, and a record of pecuniary interest declarations and whether councillors have voted on matters in which they had a pecuniary interest.
"There were many cases where it was difficult, if not impossible, to determine if a councillor or council had acted properly because of a lack of documentation and conflicting accounts from within the council of what actually occurred.
"This makes it difficult for a councillor who has done the right thing to defend his or herself from unfair attack and makes it difficult for the department to investigate allegations where councillors may not have acted properly."
Mr Omodei said Department of Local Government investigators found evidence of minutes being altered and in a number of cases they had been signed by a mayor or president who was not present when the minutes were confirmed and allegedly signed. In one case the alleged signatory was overseas.
Planning issues, while identified as a problem in only a minority of investigations, nevertheless featured regularly in public inquiries or complaints to the Minister. When they did occur, they tended to create major problems.
Areas of concern included approvals being given for land uses which were not zoned for, development works commencing prior to approval being given, inconsistent enforcement of development conditions, inappropriate development conditions, lack of public consultation and inconsistent exercising of planning powers.
Mr Omodei said other key problem areas included:
a widespread lack of understanding of pecuniary interest requirements of the Local Government Act;
problems with budgeting and financial procedures;
operational problems, including staffing levels and misunderstanding of the roles and responsibilities of councillors and of staff; and -
incorrect or deficient tendering procedures.
The analysis released by Mr Omodei provides examples of where councils have gone wrong in all of these areas and the impact their actions had on the council, on staff and on business people and the community.
Copies of the report will be sent to all councils.
Media contact: Amanda O'Brien 481 3000
Nothing has changed!!!!!