Letter writes says CEO’s infamous shopping centre recruitment comment may have been a better option for choosing councillors.
Letter writes says CEO’s infamous shopping centre recruitment comment may have been a better option for choosing councillors.

‘Gympie council has cultivated a culture of irrelevance’

Fight for credibility on as election looms

READERS will have noticed recently the increasing number of public statements by sitting councillors seeking to establish some belated visibility and would-be councillors attempting to establish a credible profile.

Two letters last Saturday, one by Ms Rae Gate the other by Mr Col Morley, belong to the latter category.

The Gate letter was a response to an earlier letter which questioned not only her right to stand for election in a division in which she did not reside, but also whether she would bring anything “to the table”. She addressed both questions in some detail.

Rae Gate.
Rae Gate.

Mr Morley’s letter fits less neatly into the category of self-promotion. It was largely a “song of praise” for the conduct of the mayor and councillors at the December meeting. It may even have been construed by some readers as the re-election launch platform for the incumbent council.

Incidentally, have any of Scott Kovacevic’s 2018 preselected “ A Listers” put up their hands for election?

Col Morley.
Col Morley.

But in the light of the recent (Dec. 9) ABC report, “Local council sackings prompt questions over need for councillors “, which detailed the dismissal of councils Australia-wide on charges ranging from fiscal mismanagement to corruption, it is difficult to generate much anticipatory enthusiasm for March 2020.

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And the sense of electoral impotence is not relieved by the recollection that our current CEO once claimed of the election of the current council that it was comparable to his going to a shopping centre on Saturday and picking randomly the requisite number to help him run the budget. But, ironically, since the council has recently reported a loss of $11 million for the year, the shopping centre recruitment drive might have been the smarter option.

Gympie Council 2018 Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.
Gympie Council 2018 Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.

The failure of councillors to engage with the community is a major factor in their apparent irrelevance. Most residents have not heard from, spoken to, or even seen from a distance their divisional representative since the last election. Many do not know who is supposed to represent them.

In the overall context it would appear that the election will be merely another costly opportunity to put a very expensive set of new and/or preloved deckchairs on the Titanic.

Merv Welch, The Palms

Surprise as council spruiks spending

I NOT the latest edition of the ratepayers-funded council magazine The Round-up has arrived in my letter box.

It’s a great and colourful read on how good we are.

By the way, there is no mention of an election on March 28, and voters beware some divisional boundaries have changed.

There’s commentary on where we have spent much of our money over the past four years.

At a time when we are all reeling from a huge deficit last year, I am somewhat surprised at the stories on our expensive achievements.

Councillor Bob Fredman.
Councillor Bob Fredman.

Sure, some of the projects have great merit, but a few with big price tickets have been questionable value in my opinion.

How many have really benefited you, the average Gympie region ratepayer?

I hope the next council is rigorous in assessing the true value of major projects put up by the bureaucracy.

Financial prudence is not glamorous but it’s a good idea sometimes.

One final observation – I note that the CEO has put himself before we councillors in the Christmas message on the back page.

A typo perhaps?

Bob Fredman, Councillor Division 8