WHAT did I learn during my time as Mayor?
I learnt that the view from inside Council is very different to the view from outside.
With the state government elections last weekend, I was reminded of the excitement of the Council elections two years ago, when I received 37 per cent of the primary vote to be elected to represent my Island Ward. I was overwhelmed by the support of my local community.
My platform had been very simple - a Better Deal for the Island, and I walked into council ready for confrontation.
After I was elected Mayor, my role altered somewhat to that of representing the whole shire on an unbiased and impartial basis; a bit different from just a focus on my Ward. But these past two years have afforded me the opportunity of viewing our whole shire from a different perspective.
Over the months, I witnessed his performance in various forums and local government networking groups and was able to compare him to other Shire CEOs. It soon dawned on me that he had skills which others lacked, as did his executive team. Over these past two years, I have seen continual evidence of his ability in advocacy, management skills, his business acumen, his knowledge and understanding of State and Local Government. Now, with only three months before his retirement, I would have to say that Bass Coast Shire will lose arguably one of the best and most experienced local Government CEOs in the state.
I also learnt that without co-operation between councillors and administration, you will have a dysfunctional council. One does not have to look far to see evidence of this. There must be unity and trust, and if that is lacking change must be effected.
So – a Better Deal for the Island – how is that working for me?
With the luck of leading the charge in advocacy during an election year, in what is now a marginal seat, the Island has certainly been the beneficiary. We will get a Community hospital with 24 hour urgent care, we will get a junior secondary college in San Remo and a new $2.4m CFA station, plus upgrades to boat ramps including Rhyll and the guarantee of township boundary protection with the introduction of the Distinctive Landscape Bill.
We still have a way to go on big ticket items, such as the redevelopment of our Cultural Centre, an aquatic centre, funding for the mitigation of erosion on our northern beaches, plus more funding for much needed walking and cycling paths – so our Advocacy List will not shrink. And now that I have removed the mayoral robes and instead donned my penguin suit, I look forward to ticking off more items from the list over the next two years.