Providing Local Leadership: Independent Elected Members not Party Political affiliates.

Speculation is high that party politics have entered into the City of Adelaide elections. As a result, it is time to reflect on what has been great about local government in South Australia.

That is that our councils are filled with independent elected members not party political affiliates. Certainly, this is the way it should be in Local Government.

Indpendent CandidateLet me start with stating that I do not have and never have had any party political affiliations.

In my 8 years on Council there has also been no evidence of party politics in the Unley chamber.

So, the members in that time did not have any party political affiliation. Certainly, if they did, it was never apparent to me.

Elected members, having said, have put their hand up for State Parliament. These members have by so doing indicated a leaning one way or another politically.

The former Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, did recently run for state parliament of the Liberal Party. His affiliation however never impacted, in my opinion, in the chamber. As Mayor, his role was limited to chairing the meetings. From memory he only ever had a vote on a handful of occasions, to break a deadlock.

We read this week that the Greens have deplored the City of Adelaide Lord Mayor allegedly endorsing Liberal affiliated candidates in their election.  So, they are apparently endorsing members of their party as candidates.

Do you want your local government representatives being truly independent? What about keeping party politics out of the Council Chamber? Do you want independent elected members, not party political affiliates?

If you do, I encourage you to seek a commitment from the candidates in your ward that they are independent.

PS  Vote 1 Don Palmer for a truly independent candidate.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Prime Minister Bites the Dust. This won’t happen to your Mayor.

We watched today helplessly as yet another Prime Minister bites the dust. The fourth to get the flick by their colleagues.

As this unfolded over the last few days I could not help but ponder the comparisons between Federal, State and Local Government. More particularly I pondered the status of Prime Ministers and Premiers, as compared with Mayors.

Prime Minister bites the dustIn recent years, after the long reign of John Howard as Prime Minister, we have seen Kevin Rudd elected by the people. We then saw Julia Gillard, followed again by Kevin Rudd elevated to the top spot not by you but by their colleagues in the Labor party.

With an angry electorate we then saw Tony Abbott get the people’s vote only then to see Malcolm Turnbull followed by Scott Morrison get the top job courtesy of “their” Liberal colleagues. You have to wonder how the electorate will view this mob next time they get their chance to have a say?

Just in case you don’t know, it won’t be long before we will be asked to vote in the Local Government elections. Given today’s news we might also be voting soon in the Federal election having done likewise in the State elections earlier this year. Maybe even at the same time.

And as the Prime Minister bites the dust here is my ponderance that prompted this blog post.

Unlike in Federal and State elections you will be asked to vote separately for your local ward members and your Mayor. In local government elections you get to vote for your local representative just as you do in the Federal and State elections. Of course, you get to choose two, not one. That is a storey in its own right.

That said, unlike in the Federal and State equivalents, you also get to vote separately for your Mayor. And when you do the winner of your vote gets the nod. In the other two forms of government the party that wins the most seats in the lower house elects the leader, be it Prime Minister or Premier. Not you.

And once you have, that person will be your Mayor until you get another say. That is unless they resign as Mayor Clyne did earlier this year or have health issues that prevent staying in the top job. The Mayor’s colleagues do not have a say. Only you.

The other side of the coin however is anyone who does not win the Mayoral contest does not get to sit on Council. The losers of the race for Prime Minister and Premier do. And they do because you don’t get a say.

Yet, with such power in Local Government elections it is strange that only one in three able to cast a vote will.

As they say (and the Prime Minister bites the dust) that’s politics.

The public face of Council has changed.

With the resignation of our Mayor and my stint as Deputy Mayor ending, the public face of Council has changed.

Last night Council appointed Cr Peter Hughes (Fullarton Ward) as our Acting Mayor. We also appointed Cr Michael Hewitson as Deputy Mayor. Their appointments will see us through to the elections in November this year. This is when you get to decide who will be your Mayor and your two Local Councillors for the next 4 years.

Peter will be the public face of Council for the next ten months. Michael will deputise in Peter’s absence. This is as was the case in the last twelve months with me deputising for Lachlan Clyne,

I wish both well.

Exacerbating this changing face of Council, Cr John Koumi announced during last night’s Council meeting that he too was resigning effective the end of this month. John’s focus has shifted in recent times with the purchase of a farm in the Adelaide Hills.

On my part my bid was unsuccessful. I am now simply again your local Ward Councillor.

This allows me to sit back a little now. Once again I can direct my focus on the rate payers of my Ward. I will also now have a greater influence in the Council Chamber, debating issues relevant to the Clarence Park Ward.

The Deputy Mayor role spreads your focus. I found myself being called into assisting with the concerns of ratepayers across the City of Unley. Responding to ratepayer concerns will largely be limited back to the Clarence Park Ward.

When replacing the Mayor at meetings the focus is in ensuring the proper flow of business and the conduct of the meeting. It was challenging when a Clarence Park Ward issue (or an issue I in which I have an interest) was discussed in the chamber.

Lachlan Clyne finally resigning as Mayor of the City of Unley

It’s Official. Lachlan Clyne is finally resigning as Mayor of the City of Unley, effective at the end of this month.

 

As most of us are aware, he is the Liberal Candidate for the seat of Badcoe in the upcoming State Election. In resigning as Mayor he can now focus all his energies on getting elected.

This has been the worst kept secret in Unley for some time now. Many amongst us believed he had already resigned. This is not the case. He was only on leave between September and November. During this time, I deputised (as Deputy Mayor) for him at Council meetings. We shared civic duties.

He returned to his Mayoral duties in December chairing the December meeting. He will chair the upcoming January meeting. Again, we shared the civic duties.

I would like, on behalf of our Community, to thank Lachlan for his service to The City of Unley. We wish you well, in whatever the future holds for you.

This Council can be proud of what it has achieved during Lachlan’s time as Mayor.

Following on from the establishment of the previous Council’s 2033 Community Plan we painstakingly master planned the various components of the plan. We have, and certainly in the more recent of times, implemented many of the plan’s initiatives.

He will be missed by many in the community of Unley.

As regular readers of this blog would know, I announced in my blog on November 27 that I have put my hand up to become our Acting Mayor in his absence.

I do so to avoid confusion for the many in our community who believed that Lachlan had already resigned as Mayor and I had taken over. I believe it is in everyone’s best interest that we present a picture of continuity and stability of community leadership.

Putting my Hand up for Mayor in Council’s January meeting.

With the pending resignation of our Mayor Lachlan Clyne I am putting my Hand up to be Mayor leading up to 2018 November local government elections.

As I have blogged previously Lachlan Clyne, our Mayor, intends to resign in January. He is doing this in his pursuit of seeking the seat of Badcoe in the March State elections. The timing of the announcement is designed to avoid a costly bi-election.

Assuming he does resign, Council will appoint from within its ranks a replacement rather there be a bi-election. Section 54 (8) of the Local Government Act refers

If a casual vacancy occurs in the office of mayor—
(a) on or after 1 January of a year in which a periodic election is due to be held
(and before polling day for that periodic election); or
(b) within 7 months before polling day for a general election (other than a
periodic election) (the date of that polling day being known at that time),
a member chosen by the council may act in the office of mayor until the conclusion of the election.

I have confirmed to my colleagues in my written report to the November Council meeting that it is my intention to nominate at the January meeting.

I do so believing that Council needs continuity in the role of Mayor. Given my involvement in the last three months, my continuing in the role until the next election will provide I believe in the eyes of the public a stable governance for Council. For stability.

I have enjoyed taking on the responsibility for filling in for the Mayor over the last three months. Continuing in the role makes sense. Rather than someone else  starting from scratch for the ensuing the mere 7 months leading up to the caretaker mode and the election.

And I have the time, the energy and the enthusiasm to give to the role. So I am putting my hand up.

Devastating blow across the bow in the fight for Badcoe

A win for the Labor Candidate for Badcoe, Jayne Stinson. Armed with a 900 plus signature petition, she has successfully lobbied her party to back her campaign to upgrade the Goodwood Oval Grandstand.

Goodwood Oval Grandstand

The State Government’s announcement today of providing funding to Council for improvements to the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Sporting Complex is, I suggest, profound. For the Liberals, this is surely a devastating blow across the bow in the fight for Badcoe.

The Liberals and their candidate (our Mayor), Lachlan Clyne have had the rug pulled out from under them. This the Government has done, by promising the funds now. Yes! To be paid now, prior to the election. A commitment that cannot be undone after the election. A commitment I find hard to see the Liberals matching.

This is welcome news to the City of Unley’s western community. That is subject to any conditions we are unaware of. Readers of this blog would be aware of the work Council has done on master planning of this precinct. You would also be aware of my efforts to ensure the best possible result for our community.

Jayne Stinson, entertained by Goodwood Saints President Craig Scott.

Looking back, I am happy that I took an early and ongoing leadership role in promoting (through the upcoming State election) the project as one warranting State Government grant funding. After introducing the project to Jayne Stinson as soon as she gained preselection back in March, I took the opportunity to introduce her to the Presidents of the Sporting Clubs. Their subsequent conversations have reinforced Council’s views of the needs. And then some.

In the meantime, we have been hard at work on our Master Plan.

We invited and received comment from our community some two years ago. Protracted discussions with all the precinct’s sporting clubs followed.

We are close to having a near shovel ready project. Good timing it would seem.

Watch this space for further information including Council’s response once we receive the official conformation and detail of the Grant.

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

 

 

A Third Player Has Emerged in the Fight for Badcoe

A third Player has emerged in the fight for Badcoe. A week ago now, Cr John Woodward announced his intention to stand.

A Councillor for the City of West Torrens Keswick Ward, John announced his intention to run via Facebook and Twitter a week ago.

His candidature should add some spice to the campaign. He will be running as an independent against the endorsed candidates for the two major parties. As you will know from two of my previous posts in the Fight for Badcoe they are as follows. Jayne Stinson for Labor and City of Unley’s own Mayor Lachlan Clyne for the Liberals.

John adds another dimension to a seat I have previously identified as a possible litmus test for the formation of the next Government.

Like the two other candidates he will come as no stranger  to a portion of the Badcoe electorate. That said I am unaware of ever having met him. Having had a number of conversations with both Lachlan and Jayne I will make a point of catching up John.

 What I have ascertained about John comes from his Facebook Page and Website. He is seeking a more collaborative approach to solving problems, NOT the adversarial, bickering, nasty personal attacks that we see from our two major parties.

For more information about John check out John’s election website.

There is yet no announcement from the Greens or from NXT regarding endorsing any candidate. With John’s announcement the other two candidates are out and about.

Lachlan has been pounding the streets in those sections of the Seat of Badcoe where is is not as well know. Jayne, on the other hand is holding two community meetings in little ol’ Clarence Park tomorrow morning.

They will be as follows:

9 am thru’ 9.45 at Dora Guild Playground

10 am thru’ 10.45 at Page Park.

 

Lobbying the Libs in the Battle for Badcoe

I took the opportunity today to speak with the Leader of the State Opposition, Stephen Marshall. An opportunity of lobbying the Libs in the Battle for Badcoe. An opportunity not to miss.

 

My wife and I met today with him and the Badcoe Liberal candidate (Unley Mayor) Lachlan Clyne. They had a meet and talk session for the local community at Sublime between 11.00 and 11.30 which we took advantage of.

 

This I did the same some months back now at Carnevale with Jayne Stinson, the Labor Candidate.

As I did with Jayne back then I unashamedly pushed a City of Unley agenda. Well, more precisely a Clarence Park Ward agenda.

Our community deserves to know what both major parties have to offer in my opinion in the following areas:

 1 Improvement to our Major Sporting/Recreational facilities.

As Council puts the finishing touches to the master planning for the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Sporting Complex we will be seeking grant funding from the State Government, whoever they may be come March 2018.

2 Answers to South Road

Knowing when and what South Road will look like will give locals some comfort for residents living on or near East Avenue. Likewise residents living on Leah Street in nearby Goodwood Ward. South Road as a non stop road can only improve the internal traffic to the benefit of all home owners in these areas.

Once again knowing what is planned for South Road will shape what can or should/should not happen in the DPA for Black Forest, which is due to come back for consideration by Council later this year.

And then a chance for my wife as she promotes Rail Safety

Since the electrification of the Seaford Rail Corridor we have seen the removal of gates to the rail stations along the corridor. This is a risk of significance at Clarence Park Rail Station in that young children particularly are at risk.

On one side we have the Clarence Park Community Centre, the home of occasional child minding. On the other we have the Clarence Park Community Kindergarten.

This is a deep concern to both my wife and I, noting there has been a death at this location in the past.

She (my wife) also lobbied for changes to the access ramps to the station. The ramps are non DDA complying. Wheelchair or Scooter access is therefore very difficult.

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.