Trigger for new era in Warrnambool City Council

Friday, December 21, 2018

MAYBE it was a good omen.
Nanjing Night Net

Warrnambool City Council could learn a valuable lesson from a magpie that flew around the civic chamber on Monday night just as the meeting came to a close.

It was in a confused flap going around and around in circles, but managed to find its way out of the dilemma with a little help from someone in the gallery.

The big question is will the same thing happen at last for the city’s seven councillors?

The hapless bird flew into the room just after a tense debate triggered by one councillor’s call for the mayor to work harder at healing rifts.

At times it resembled a verbal boxing match, with punches and counter punches thrown across the room, sometimes directed very personally.

But in the end they unanimously voted for a beefed-up set of guidelines which cover conduct, performance and basic principles on what a councillor’s role entails.

We can only hope it represents a peaceful new chapter for the council team spirit which, ratepayers know, has been hard to come by on some issues.

In the past few years an estimated $250,000 has been spent on investigations and special hearings triggered by dozens of complaints by some councillors against colleagues and staff.

Most of these proved to be frivolous, adding nothing to efforts to foster harmony.

Mayor Michael Neoh wisely challenged all councillors to sign the code of conduct and for their actions to match their words in seeking harmony.

It’s a small point but in the interests of mutual respect, it would also help if the time-honoured practice of all seven councillors attending a friendly meal after monthly briefings were to be resumed rather than them going separate ways.

Warrnambool’s image has taken a battering and there have been suggestions that investment in the city has dried up because of the unstable nature of council decision-making.

Ratepayers will be hoping Monday night’s clear-the-air session will fly.

Just like the magpie.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.