Melbourne City Council last night removed Gary Singer from his role as committee chairman and responsibility for the administration of the City Council. Herald Sun 1 March 2006
Melbourne City Council yesterday pushed though a proposed restructure of its Committee structure and representation model. The public proposals which were presented direct to Council effectively shut out the community from any comment or input. Normally any administrative proposals of this type are first considered by the Finance Administration committee where documents are published and the public invited to make submissions. The decision to consider this recommendation under general business at last nights Council committee denied community input.
John So's reshuffle failed to address the real issues of organization and the need to improve local representation .
The system adopted demonstrates Оoh So's inability to provide real leadership and organizational management. designed more to tie up Councillor time so as to limit their ability to seriously review the performance of the council administration. Under the proposal adopted by the City Council the Council administration will continue to avoid accountability and responsibility .
Each Councillor, apart from the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor, have been allocated a portfolio of responsibility in an expanded Committee structure.
Missing is real effective local representation and community involvement of outside expert participants. With every councillor sitting on every committee there is little wonder why the City of Melbourne can not find time to seriously consider and review proposals put forwarded by the administration.
Instead of increasing the number of committees the city of Melbourne should be reducing the number of committees each councillor sits on. Instead the Council should consider adopting a model where Council delegates responsibility to outside experts, local representatives and council nominees. It is these expert committees that should be engaged in the formation and review of policy with recommendations being referred to th4 elected Council for final review and adoption. The City Council concentrating on fiscal and administrative responsibility and ensuring that the adopted representative model is working to community expectations.
In the mean time residents and ratepayers are denied effective representation. Changes to the electoral system in 2001 saw direct local representation removed. The problem is no so much to do with the electoral system but more to do with the policies of the City Council that has failed to provide an alternative effective form of representation and review in the formation of Council policies. Instead of being participants in the formation of policy community organisations are left to having to react to councils proposals with much falling though the cracks in the floor boards.
John So's restructure does nothing to reinstate local representation and community participation.