I'm a Greedy Politician

Do Councilors Get Paid Too Much?

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I'm a Greedy Politician

Sorry too busy for the job, I just wanna be paid!

I have read with interest posts on facebook and I have had discussions with people in general, and been amazed at the comments surrounding what the councilors get paid. It seems the general consensus is that $65,000 /year and a car is a lot of money and these councilors need to be working at it full time and earn their dollar.

In my time in the workforce I have seen people that put in a lot of hours but do not actually do a lot of productive work or sometimes people that work hard but work at the wrong things so they are not profitable. I have also seen people that put in less hours but work on the right things that produce great results that make great profits. My business is a commission based one so when we get it wrong we don’t make money but sometimes we get it right and the profits come. Profits or Losses aren’t necessarily governed by how much time you put into it in my view.

I really think by choosing councilors based on how much time you think they might have you are running the risk of choosing a gumby that concentrates on the wrong things and costs the ratepayers $$$$. If a good councilor is putting in 20 hours a week and getting good results, then they deserve whatever they get in remuneration. However, if a bad councilor is putting in 100 hours a week and costing ratepayers $$$$ then I think they should be paid zero.

There has been a lot of talk about people running for council that currently run a business and I have been surprised by a lot of comments suggesting you can’t vote for this type as they don’t have the time. I am sure the business owners looking to do this job have thought of the ramifications to their business first before jumping in. Some may even be planning to hire staff to cover the void if they do get in so it might mean a couple more jobs available.

I just think the more serious problem is people that could be potentially in it for the money. Ie. To top up their super, pension or just supplement their income in general and not really have that focus to improve the region as a whole.

Anyway – Just my thoughts. Everyone has their own mind so pick who you think will do the best job for the Region.

approachable

Good Councilor Trait number 4 – Approachable

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approachableAs a kid growing up in Dalby the Councilors and the Mayor seemed to me to be the most approachable people in our town. I learnt that if there was a local issue you talked to these people and something would be done about it. I remember my parents talking around the dinner table about these people like they were old friends and respected community advisors.

Maybe I was young and Naïve or maybe I’m looking back with rose coloured glasses but things seem a lot different today. The Western Downs Regional Councilors as a unit don’t seem to be held in high esteem.

My family Dinner table in 2016 doesn’t have a feel good vibe when it comes to WDR Councilors that is for sure and I think it is because they are just not that approachable these days. The huge region makes this even more evident with councilors unable to show themselves adequately in all areas and in my opinion some councilors tend to hide behind the failings of the system and blame the stupidity of the local government text book rather than looking for a solution.

A good councilor in the modern world will make themselves available online by responding adequately to emails and conversing with people on social media platforms when face to face is not possible. A good councilor is an approachable one and if you find a candidate that you think is approachable then tick the box as they can be hard to come by.

This brings me to the end of my 4 part series on Good Councilor Traits.

Some are probably wondering why there was 6 Negatives and 4 positives. Well these are the items most important to me and I didn’t write them to make them add up to anything.

I would like to stress that the writings in my blog over the past few weeks are derived from my personal experience with councilors and the Western Downs Regional Council in general. Nothing in them is fabricated to induce publicity but they are however completely my opinion and my views on the way things are at present. You are free to agree or disagree but at the end of the day I would like people to give serious contemplation to who they vote for in the upcoming election. Don’t be a dill like I was 4 years ago and think it doesn’t really matter who you vote in, because it absolutely does. And more than ever, Dalby and the whole of the Western Downs Region needs its people to stand up and be counted.

Next week the final nominations will be public. We all need to sort out who is right for the region and who is wrong and vote accordingly. Don’t be fooled by polished political speeches and champions of media. Talk to them in person and find out whether they will stand up for right and wrong in our region. In my opinion it is pretty simple.

 

All The Best,

Peter Forbes

Good Councilor Positive Trait number 3 – Open Minded

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Open MindedIf you have been around for a while you will know that it is only human nature to avoid pain. And sometimes because of this we tend to dwell on the negative outcomes of the past and sometimes sadly this can cloud our judgement even when the greatest opportunity sits right in front of our faces. I’ve seen it in my business many times and even being guilty of it myself when a colleague has a differing opinion to mine.

As I assess the current councilors and the new candidates it is fairly easy to see who is open to new ideas and opportunities. I am not saying all current councilors are close minded old fools by any means, however I am suggesting that it will be more difficult for them to be open minded for the future with the baggage they are carrying from the last term or 2 in some cases. The councilors I choose will be people that are open to new ideas and not closed off to opportunity in the future because of past failings.

Stay Tuned for Good Councilor Trait number 4 – Approachable

 

Communicator

Positive Councilor Trait Number 2 – A Great Communicator

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CommunicatorI think most people in the region would remember the floods of 2011.

I was waist deep in dirty water over in my yard and as the water was going down I started planning for the cleanup. Not just for my place but also a few shops and some rental properties that I manage that had flood issues as well. When the cleanup started I had a barrage of calls from people in distress (to be honest I thought their issues were low priority compared to mine) And then I got a call from councilor Charlene Hall who asked how I was doing and if I needed help. I told her about some flats with an elderly gentleman in them that needed help and I told her when I was finished with my place I would be heading there. Through social media and word of mouth she arranged for a barrage of people to assist in the cleanup.

Now that is great communication.

It is pretty easy to communicate these days with the advent of social media and any councilor not using it to network with the people will need to be doing an incredible amount of footwork somewhere else to make up for it. In the case of an emergency social media is a necessity.

Stay Tuned for Good Councilor Positive Trait number 3 – Open Minded

Listener

The 4 Positive Traits of Good Councilors

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Years ago when I was starting in my Real Estate Business in Dalby I did some research outside of town and talked with different people about what I should do in starting my business. One Real Estate Trainer I met looked at me and said “It’s simple, look at what your competitors are doing and do the exact opposite” I wasn’t sure if this guy was the full quid but it got me to thinking maybe what they are all doing is wrong. Thinking like this If you are out there and wondering if you should run for council and maybe you are not up to the job. Well stop and take a look closer because you have a fabulous role model who is running for council right now. He is a great role model for all the wrong reasons and I don’t even need to name him as anyone following local events knows who I am talking about. My advice to anyone running for council is to look closely at what this candidate stands for and simply do the opposite of what he has done while in his Power Role and you will go well.

Over the coming few days I will be outlining the 4 Positive Councilor Traits that I think are the most important to consider when voting for your councilors in the upcoming elections. I hope you enjoy and feel free to send me a message or add your thoughts in the comments. All the best.

Positive CoListeneruncilor Trait Number 1 – An Active Listener and Sound Researcher

When a decision was made against me by the Western Downs Regional Council I lost in the boardroom by councilor vote 6 votes to 3. I was granted time to speak prior to the vote which I was grateful for because believe it or n
ot the Mayor doesn’t have to allow you to speak prior to crushing you. (Amazing – I thought we lived in a democracy – but I was wrong) I thought I had some very valid points as to how the Planning Department of the WDRC had painted our application in a bad light and 3 at the table definitely listened to what I was saying. Unfortunately, the other 6 didn’t hear anything I said which was a shame. Sometime later the Queensland Ombudsman listened and sided with me and although not admitting guilt of any kind I was sent a cheque in the mail from the WDRC Planning Department. (I really wanted an apology but I guess they thought it was too late to apoligise) In this case councilors didn’t care to listen or do the research and it ultimately cost the council money. The said Development application has since been approved, and I can tell you it has been modified to be a far less appealing development than the intial one was just so we could cut costs. A loss for the town in my opinion but after wasting so much time and money we felt it necessary to do something more budget that gave us a more appealing return.

It was apparent to me after this incident that there is no more important trait in a good councilor than being a good listener and or researcher. Sometimes in life you need to stop what you are doing and listen to what someone is telling you. Yes, you will form your own opinion and sometimes you will vote against the wishes of the person talking to you, but you need to know the full story before you crush anyone’s hopes and dreams.

Stay Tuned for Positive Councilor Trait Number 2 – A Great Communicator

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