I have Joined the Unley Actors Guild

Our Mayor has gone on leave. In his absence I have joined what I have affectionately called the Unley Actors Guild. In other words, as Deputy Mayor, I have now become Acting Mayor.

In my 7 years at Council I have oft observed the following procedure.

  • A member of our Administration sends me an email;
  • I respond immediately to this email;
  • My email attracts a prepared response to say that member of Administration is on leave and if my matter is urgent contact “x”;
  • In contacting “x” I find he or she is wearing the “Acting Manager of this or that tag”.

This I was unfamiliar with until joining Council. In private enterprise and more appropriately in an SME I simply never experienced anyone wearing an “acting title”.

Little did I realise that one day I would join this club, courtesy of the Mayor’s decision to run for the Seat of Badcoe.

Mayor Lachlan Clyne, not that he has to unless and until elected to the seat of Badcoe, has decided he will resign as Mayor in January. The timing of his decisions, both to go on leave and to resign, is to avoid Unley having to fund a bi-election for Mayor in the lead up to our own election. If he were to resign in 2017 now we would be forced to have a bi-election.

In his absence I (as Deputy Mayor this year) will join the Unley Actors Guild and take his place. I will have this role until sometime in January.

Once he has resigned, Council will hold an internal election. We will elect from within our number both an Acting Mayor and a Deputy Mayor to see out the tenure of the current Council. Our elections are due also next year, in November.

Signing Off: Deputy (Acting) Mayor.

Member of the Unley Actors Guild

 

 

The question on everyone’s lips is, Is the Mayor going to resign

I have been asked often recently is the Mayor going to resign? This refers to his Liberal preselection to the State seat of Badcoe I reported on Saturday. So! Is the Mayor going to resign?

This morning the Mayor has answered that question. He has advised his intentions to both members of Council and to the Executive.

First up, the Local Government Act provides for this.

Clause 54 (1) (e). A member of council must resign when that member becomes a member of an Australian Parliament. It does not require this if he or she is campaigning to become a member.

Clause 54 (8) deals with a casual vacancy that exists in the Office of Mayor on or after January 1 on a year in which a periodic election is due. It indicates a member chosen by Council may act in the office of Mayor until the conclusion of the election. The next periodic election for Council is November next year.

If the Mayor were to resign prior to January 1 next year the ratepayers of the City of Unley would have to fund a by-election. Not so if he resigns after that time.

Beyond this should the Mayor take a leave of absence the Deputy Mayor will become Acting Mayor during that absence. Under the Act any elected member can take a leave of absence for up to 3 consecutive regular council meetings without the approval of Council.

Lachlan has indicated his intentions to us.

That all said, our Mayor has advised that it is his intention to take a leave of absence in October this year. He then intends to resign as Mayor in January of next year. This is pretty much in line with the provisions noted above.

In his letter to us he believes a Councillor as Acting Mayor from January will provide the greatest stability in leadership of the Unley community. He notes too it is also considerably less expensive than a general election. This he believes is his best option.
As the current Deputy Mayor I will therefore become Acting Mayor from October thru’ January. It means also that Council may elect from within our numbers an Acting Mayor. That position will occur from January through to the completion of the periodic election in November next year.

 

NEW 5 YEAR CONTRACT ANNOUNCED FOR PETER TSOKAS, CITY OF UNLEY CEO

This is a copy of a media release today from Council.

 

We are pleased to announce, that following Monday night’s August Council meeting, Peter Tsokas has accepted a new 5 year contract as the CEO of the City of Unley.

City of Unley Mayor Lachlan Clyne welcomed the good news.

 “Peter has now been Unley’s CEO for the four years since 2011” says Mayor Clyne “and he has been a very important contributor to shepherding the City of Unley into the safe and secure position it now finds itself in.”

“Whilst the return of all 11 Elected Members who re-nominated for their positions at the last election was a clear indication of the Unley community’s confidence in our direction,” he said, “the announcement of this decision offers incredible stability to our organisation and our community for these coming years”.

With this announcement Lachlan believes Unley is now very well placed to meet future challenges and can offer strong and respected leadership to the local community and the Local Government sector.

“Peter’s positive leadership and strategic vision will provide a strong platform for achieving our goals and meeting our community’s needs with confidence” Mayor Clyne concluded.   

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

I concur with Lachlan’s comments. Peter has provided great leadership, not only reducing the operating budget by well in excess of $ 2.0m but creating a synergy within the administration that sees staff working together in harmony and respect.

He has a great vision for the future of the City of Unley.

From memory the vote taken on Monday night was unanimous.

 

For some it is Bloody Elections.. Over It : For others an opportunity not to be passed up.

Bloody Elections. Over It. That is what I was hearing from so many people not that long ago. Well guys I am sorry to say there is another one on its way-just 123 days away.

This one is for Local Government.

And as part of the process of preparing for it Council will enter a period of being in “caretaker” mode. This will commence on 16th September after the period for nominations to be received has closed.

During this time council cannot make any decisions that would bind a incoming council. They will also be a limit on what we, as Councillors, can do or respond to. This is in order to protect all candidates and ensure they have a fair and equal opportunity.

If you have any pressing issues I encourage you to air them with me prior to this time to ensure you don’t have to wait until after the election. Having aid that the CEO will answer any correspondence during that time addressed to elected members.

If you want to vote and influence the result of the election of your ward Councillors, or for the Mayor then I suggest you make sure you have enrolled to vote and have that opportunity. And you may be surprised that you might be eligible.

Council elections allow tenants (including non-Australian residents such as international students over 18 or working 457 visas who have lived in Unley for over a month; as well as landlords, holiday house owners and business owners.

To qualify however you do have to jump some hurdles. There is a form to fill out, thankfully just a one pager with 10 boxes to fill in.

The completed forms must be lodged prior to August 8th in order to qualify.

The form can be obtained here.

If you have any query you can speak o one of council’s helpful staff on 8372 5111 or if you prefer the Electoral Commission on 1300 655 232.

Just what does Council provide


There has been much talk in the last week or two about Councils having rates increases capped and indeed the relevance of Local Government.

Councils exist only at the behest of the State Government. The Local Government Act 1999 prescribes a system of local government to enable councils to govern and manage areas at a local level.
The operative here is to recognise that this is to allow government at the local level. I suggest responsibilities that are best dealt with at the local level. Responsibilities that would lose the local if administered by the State Government.
It is interesting to hear a potential State Government talking of capping rates, when State Governments dictate what services are to be provided. In so doing they historically (the State Government) have no problem asking Councils to provide services without getting commensurate funding or funding not sufficient to cover the service rendered. You would have heard this called cost shifting in the media.
So what do Councils provide?

All councils have basic responsibilities under the Local Government Act and other relevant legislation. These include but are not limited to:
It all Starts with the 3 “R’s”. Roads, Rates & Rubbish including
ü     Management of basic infrastructure including roads, footpaths, parks, public open      space
ü     Street lighting and stormwater drainage.
ü     Street cleaning and rubbish collection.
In response to community needs, Council provides the following services and programs:
ü     Various health services.
ü     Aged and Social Care
ü     Economic Development
ü     Animal Management  
ü     Urban Policy and Planning
ü     Library Services
ü     Community Development
ü     Sustainable Landscapes
ü     Community Engagement  
ü     Parking Control
ü     Community Services
ü     Community Centres
ü     Community Transport
ü     Volunteers
ü     Corporate Services
ü     Sport and Recreation
ü     Recreation and Open Space Management
ü     Youth Development
ü     Environmental Management
ü     Museum
ü     Graffiti Removal
ü     Pedestrian movement
The Council also maintains a number of facilities on a fee for service basis, some of these are subsidised. For example:
ü     Unley Swimming Centre
ü     Community Bus Service
ü     HACC Program
ü     Halls for hire
ü     Ovals, courts, parks and reserves for hire.
And Councils have a responsibility under the Development Act 1995 including
ü     Assisting the Minister of Planning in establishing Guidelines for Planning Controls over built development in the Council area.
ü     Development Assessment and Approval of developments with the council area.
ü     Building Rules Assessment and Approval of applications for building work.
ü     Checking of Building Work under construction, including auditing building safety assessment
And then there are the governance issues underpinning all these responsibilities that have to be established and reviewed on regular legislated intervals.
ü     Regulatory activities, including voters’ roll maintenance and Elected Members’ support.
ü     Determining longer term strategic management and management plans, financial plans,
ü     Infrastructure and asset management plans and policies and procedures for the area.
ü     Setting rates, preparing an Annual Business Plan and Budget.
ü     Developing Policies and procedures.
ü     Provision of various environmental health services.


May I ask you which of these services would you prefer are handled by State Government. There are bound to be some but I encourage you to ask yourself with each of these services which can afford to lose the local influence in favour of a centralized management.



Mid Term Review of Committees

Council will soon be considering the mid term review of committee representation.

On this occasion however we will be looking at an entirely new committee and advisory group structure. One that will hopefully streamline processes and staff time, but also provides an opportunity to better address and represent the functions of council.

It is likely, if accepted, to see three committees of 4 elected members each addressing specific functions in lieu of the current City Strategy & Policy Committee, which has very member of Council sit on it.

And we are also likely to see the election from within our ranks of a Deputy Mayor.

It is likely to be decided at our next Council meeting on Monday 26th November.