Why your initiatives won't happen when you think!

Welcome to Council!

Welcome to Council!

6th December 2019

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First of all, let me express my heartfelt congratulations to you for being democratically voted into the prestigious position of Local Government Councillor. You should feel proud that your efforts have paid off and that you have been successful in securing a position on Council.

The aim of this article it to share a few truths and tips very early in the piece in the hope that it might save you some anguish and valuable time. It would be remiss of me to wait any longer before sharing the three things you should NEVER forget during your term, they are;

  1. It is an absolute privilege to be a Local Government Councillor, appreciate it.
  2. Keep a check of your ego! You are great, but not as a singular entity.
  3. Your term will be over before you know it, so make the most of it.

I have mentioned these three points early in this article to enhance their importance, I may mention them again throughout the article to once again enhance their importance.

Okay let’s get on with it.

By now you should be feeling pretty bloody awesome, you no doubt have a fire in your belly and are ready to change your little piece of the world. You are here to make positive changes that will hopefully enrich the lives of the residents in your local area and you are eager to get it done pronto. You’ve been sworn in, you’ve had your photo shoot, you’ve been allocated a seat at the table and you are ready and willing to be educated on all things local Government. You may be thinking it should be a piece of cake or you may be feeling a bit daunted.

Either way take a breath because I can confirm you have just entered another world and you have no idea what you have got yourself involved with!

The first thing you should do is work out a way to accept right now your minor initiatives will more than likely take at least 12 months to come to fruition and your major initiatives will probably occur long after the CR has been removed from the front of your name.

Local Governments are basically in control of spending other people’s money, the very action of this means you are accountable and your choices can and will be questioned. In order to limit backlash and ensure adequate monies are available in the future you need to plan well in advance. Now I am not going to go into all that is entailed with this planning, mainly due to that being an enormous subject and a ten-minute article simply won’t cut it. What I will say is without an extremely good reason, you won’t be able to just breeze in and change what could likely be a strategic direction that is ten or more years in the making. The stages of the said planning would be the end result of many hours, weeks, months or even years of work. I am sure you can imagine that the cost and the information required to get that point would be immense, not to mention the sense of “ownership” that is engrained in those that were involved in setting that direction.

Quick interjection for your memory bank.

  1. It is an absolute privilege to be a Local Government Councillor, appreciate it.
  2. Keep a check of your ego! You are great, but not as a singular entity.
  3. Your term will be over before you know it, so make the most of it.

Okay so I am not all doom and gloom, you will be able to achieve a few things but first here’s a few more things to consider.

First of all, you are now a key decision maker for a big business and with all things business you need a good business plan to go along with your fabulous new initiative. Once again I am not here to tell you how to write or present a business plan I will just give you a few things to consider.

  1. Who will benefit from your initiative?
  2. Will anyone be disadvantaged by your initiative?
  3. Is your initiative replacing something similar?
  4. What is the short term and the long term cost of your initiative?
  5. Where will the funds come from?
  6. If the initiative is implemented, will another program be cut?
  7. Have you discussed the technicalities with the CEO?
  8. Have you got COUNCIL SUPPORT?

When developing and sharing your “business plan” for your initiative please keep in mind.

POINTS 1-7 ARE USELESS WITHOUT POINT 8

Point 9 is crucial and probably should be redirected to point 1 however I have decided to leave it  here as the final point so it is the last point you consider.

     9. What makes you so sure the community want or need your initiative?

On more than one occasion I have heard keynote speakers passionately reiterate;

  • Don’t be so sure you know what is best for the community.
  • Don’t assume the community wants your help.
  • Make sure you communicate and engage with all the stakeholders involved to achieve best
    outcomes for all.

Final reminder.

  1. It is an absolute privilege to be a Local Government Councillor, appreciate it.
  2. Keep a check of your ego! You are great, but not as a singular entity.
  3. Your term will be over before you know it, so make the most of it.

Good luck with your initiative and may you have the strength, courage and integrity to abide by the Code of Conduct at all times.

Please remember if you need any support or help you are encouraged to reach out to any one of our committee members, we are here to help.

Terresa Lynes

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