The Role of Council
The Council is an elected body of fifteen members who are elected for a four year term to carry out duties under the provisions of the Local Government Act and Regulations. Each year a Mayor and Deputy Mayor are elected by the members of the Council. The Mayor, as well as being Chairman of Meetings, represents Council when it is not in session. Simply stated, Council is the decision and policy making body whilst Council staff are the means by which these decisions and policies are carried into effect.
The Mayor's Job
The Mayor's responsibilities vary widely, but all are intended to ensure the well-being of the city and its people.
The Mayor officially represents the Council at many public events, and often opens new establishments within the city, attends inaugural meetings, and is guest speaker at many functions. Civic welcomes are extended by the Mayor to dignitaries visiting the city. The Mayor also meets Cabinet Ministers, Government Departmental heads and Members of Parliament to discuss matters of common interest to the city.
The Mayor is automatically on all Council Committees (ex-officio), chairs all full Council meetings, and has the right to vote. Whenever the vote is even, the Mayor may exercise a casting vote. At Council meetings the Mayor may bring before the Council, as a Mayoral Minute, any matter which requires immediate attention. When these Mayoral Minutes are brought forward at meetings, they are given precedence over all other business. When the Council is not in session (meeting) the Mayor may make policy decisions which can then be confirmed and accepted by the full Council at its next meeting.
The Councillor's Job
Councillors are elected members of the Council. Their jobs cover many areas, each aimed at satisfying expectations of the local community. A Councillor is expected to be many things, including:
- representative of the people
- planner and goal setter
- resource manager
- servant to the people
- decision maker
- civic leader
- member of a board of directors
The Councillors are the Board of Directors for the Local Government organisation. They approve Council expenditure; set goals, strategies and policies; co-operate with appointed managers; and decide issues submitted to the Council. Councillors also allocate resources for various Local Government functions, and watch over the efficiency, cost and effectiveness of Council's organisation. They help set priorities for Council both in planning and in execution of its works programmes. They must be advocates for the Local Government Area and promote it, and can be called upon to represent Council in inter-government matters. They assist fellow Councillors in deciding matters discussed at meetings, for example finance, law, technical matters and economics. Councillors, like the Mayor, undertake civic duties such as receiving dignitaries and attending civic functions.
Being elected representatives, Councillors are delegates and trustees not only for the people who voted for them, but also for those who did not. They pass on information about Council activities to various sectors of the community and provide input of community attitudes to Council. They often receive petitions from voters, and so Councillors have to make sure they are familiar with the issues involved.
Councillors are expected to show leadership in the community, in the Council, and as private citizens. They must at all times act reasonably, with equity and justice, and must submerge any self interest. They are expected to be active and look to the future. To do all this, Councillors need to keep themselves informed of a wide range of matters, about government, administration, finance, economics and society.