Mayor Matthews must be funning us when she maintains that party politics are not a factor in the Council’s operation (New mayor denies ‘party lines’ operate at council, edition 479).
Most of the councillors wouldn’t even be in office were it not for the above-the-line donkey vote that almost automatically gives one-third of the seats each to the Labor and Liberal candidates, so it strains credulity to imagine that party loyalties don’t play a big part in councillors’ behaviour.
The Labor councillors were outmanoeuvred by the Liberals in the election of the first mayor, but clearly the unlikely coalition that elected ex-mayor Smith has now fallen apart, possibly, in part, because of her lack-lustre performance in the role.
It remains to be seen whether the change of mayor will result in any change in the council’s notoriously secretive and unresponsive attitude towards ratepayers.
It is not encouraging that the reach of Mayor Matthew’s imagination is exemplified by the fact that her only goal in office (apart from being re-elected) is to beg for State and Federal money, rather than set priority targets and marshal the council’s resources to achieve these targets.
As a Labor mayor, she will have an unenviable task, if she is relying on higher-level Liberal governments to bail her out any hole that the council falls into as a result of its well-recognized incompetence.
When one considers that, after two years in office, the council hasn’t even sorted out a workable administrative structure for the amalgamated city, it seems unlikely that we’ll see any strides forward over the next two years.
Email, 2 Oct 2019
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy