Well, well, well down at Town Hall today it seems that the army of council ‘Spin Doctors’ are in danger of believing in themselves and taking themselves and their bureaucratic authority a bit too far. Just look at the spin in action as we head towards the 2018 council elections in October.
It’s reported that Basil Fitch returned to his post in the public gallery today and he asked the mayor his quota of questions. One was about him using his incumbency and ratepayers funding to promote himself on Television and elsewhere.
Initially Ald. van Zetten claimed that he did not understand what Mr Fitch was talking about but aldermen around the table helped Mr Fitch out and confirmed the basis of his questioning.
Possibly the mayor was oblivious to the potential to him being seen as operating outside the bounds of best practice and credible moral standards. Whatever, he seems quite comfortable about putting himself about without too much self reflection.
It seems that there are some serious question waiting to be answered. Like, does the council’s public relations team favour the status quo and do they consequently structure their work towards maintain it? Then again, are aldermen actually aware of the ‘spin doctors’ preferences and predilections? If so, do they actually see themselves as the recipients of back grounding to enhance or otherwise their election prospects?
This is a serious matter with serious implications but many ratepayers and residents are already laughing behind their hands in polite company, some wishing one thing, others wishing another. It is about time the mayor and aldermen did something about their appearing to look away when morals and ethics, and indeed accountability, comes under scrutiny in a discussion. The punters are not stupid – well not so very, very stupid.
Then there is the question of $14.8Million that is outstanding in regard to commitments not being met by ‘grant providers’ etc. Who in voter land is looking at that? In fact, which aldermen are taking any notice at all?
Council’s placatory words are very worrying in the context of ratepayers now servicing $20Million in loans. With the expenditure of this money not being intended to generate income of any sort to relieve ratepayers of the debt well into the future. Just what is going on?
In addition, these loans are bound to create maintenance expenditure issues well after the life of this council’s term is over and at a time when the decision makers – elected and unelected – have left the scene with their superannuation and so on quite intact.
As per usual, the aldermen slunk off to do some decision making behind closed doors again today. The more this happens the more concerning it is. What cannot be said out in the open and who voted how? Were is the accountability?
Ratepayers and residents should keep these things front of mind when candidates come knocking and when candidates are putting themselves up as credible contenders. In fact, if ratepayers are going to vote they had better confront candidates with some home truths or bear the consequences of their not taking strong enough action along with them to their graves.