So that community members can vote with confidence that candidates in the September 2024 Council elections are coming from a sense of civic and community service, a formal preparation program is being developed. The Office of Local Government (OLG) has indicated that this will play a key role in supporting the transition back to elected civic leadership.
“When the next Local Government Elections for Wingecarribee Shire come around on Saturday 24 September 2024, the community must feel assured that a return pathway has been established to prevent a recurrence of the leadership failures that contributed to the previous Council’s dismissal,” Wingecarribee Shire Council Administrator Mr Viv May said.
With a view to developing a formal education program for candidates, Mr May has been in discussion with the (OLG), along with the Administrators of Balranald and Central Coast Councils which have both been subject to independent Public Inquiries.
Planned information sessions will be distinct from the elected Councillor induction, targeted at preventing a repeat of hard and costly lessons learned, Mr May explains. “The focus will be making candidates aware of what went wrong with the previous Council, the lessons learned, and the steps taken while under Administration to address the underlying issues and create an effective, community-focused Council culture.”
While roles and responsibilities will be at the forefront, financial responsibilities, managing conflicts, governance, interaction with Council staff, social media and how to make a positive impact and work cohesively as the elected Council, will all be addressed. “Good Governance in local Government is about representing our whole Shire and being a contributing and active member of the governing body and the Local Government Act is very clear in this regard,” Mr May said.
Content will be independently developed the three Councils under administration, each making a contribution of approximately $10,000. The OLG will oversee and assist in facilitating the Councillor return pathways. It is proposed to involve successful past and present Councillors from within NSW Local Government, to share their experience of how to make a positive impact on the local community.
An initial public session for intending candidates will be held in mid-late October 2023. Three formal sessions will follow, in April, May and June 2024.
“I propose to publish the names of candidates who have participated in the program, prior to the elections,” Mr May said.
For weekly updates on all that’s happening in our Shire, and opportunities to get involved, join Council’s Your Shire e-news wsc.nsw.gov.au/council/newsletters and follow us on socials.