AROUND NSW this week it is Local Government Week, a week intended to showcase the work councils do in their local communities, including the wide variety of services they provide.
I am very proud to be mayor of Kempsey Shire Council for many, many reasons. One of which is the incredible staff who work for this great organisation, some of whose stories you will hear this week.
Another source of pride is the team of councillors who I am fortunate to work with.
Last week the State Government postponed the local government elections which are now scheduled for Saturday December 4. I thank my fellow councillors for the service they give and for staying those extra months of what is already an unusually long term.
That delay means there is more time for you to consider running to be a councillor.
The role of a Kempsey Shire councillor is both relatively high profile but also often misunderstood. It is so much more than just turning up to a council meeting once a month.
There are many responsibilities placed upon a councillor. Making well-informed decisions takes research and meetings.
Facilitating communication between the community and council requires attendance at events, connecting and engaging with our amazing residents and listening to many different views.
Ultimately, we are accountable to the community who we represent. At the same time, we are appointed to be leaders and to influence community development based on the overall public interest.
Balancing these two sometimes opposing needs is a never-ending struggle.
Together, councillors act more like a board of directors than a political forum. Each councillor is part of the one body, and we exercise our powers collectively - it's almost like we don't each have one vote, rather we have one-ninth of a vote.
For that reason we need to form a collective view on each topic and take a strategic approach to decision making.
The rewards come in the 'yes!' moments when we see things happen that improve people's lives - from making a real difference in times of disaster to opening a new bridge, road or facility.
Being an elected local government councillor is an important and rewarding role, it is also one of constant learning. The skillset required ranges from technical in terms of understanding legislation and council services, to those 'soft' skills of communication and collaboration.
None of us are ever finished improving ourselves just like we are never finished improving our services to community.
Happy Local Government Week.
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