EDITORIAL: A new day, a new beginning on council?

THE Local Government election is over for another four years.

While the final outcome has resulted in several familiar faces returning to the role of councillor here’s hoping there is a new and improved outlook from the new-look team of Wingecarribee Shire leaders.

There is no doubt the past four year term of council has been fraught with challenges – grandstanding, code of conduct cases, significant funds spent on legal challenges and meetings that failed to achieve the completion of all business have not been uncommon.

It is time to put these challenges behind us and look forward with hope that the latest team of nine, both returning and new councillors, can take on their role with a focus on the best interests of the Wingecarribee Shire and its people.

The five councillors returning to the fold have spent the past month in caretaker mode in the lead up to this year’s election.The reality is that all nine of these councillors should always recognise themselves as caretakers.

They have been elected by the community as representatives and spokespeople for all who live in this shire. They have been elected in the hope and belief that they will carefully manage the finances, the progress and the maintenance of this community.

They may not please all the people all the time. They may not see eye to eye with each other all the time. However, it is important that they go into the next four years with a view to achieve the best possible outcome for this community in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

They are taking on these responsibilities under the watchful eye of the community in what is often a thankless job. The remunerations are paltry –the mayor currently earns $41,090 a year while councillors are paid $18,840 a year. There is no promise of a comfortable retirement plan when their time of service ends. And they will be the target of criticism from someone with almost every decision they make. 

It makes you wonder why anyone would put their hand up for the job. Surprisingly 56 people did put their hand up prepared to take on this somewhat thankless job at this year’s election. We now have the final successful candidates.

Here’s hoping that their streak of success continues as a group of community leaders who achieve positive outcomes for the Wingecarribee Shire.

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