Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor Chris Loft.
Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor Chris Loft. Valerie Horton

Mayor's message: deputy mayor vote and CPEM report

THIS week we have some major things happening at council and I wanted the public to hear my views on these immensely important issues before we as a council have to decide on them.

The first one is the position of deputy mayor. It has been a tradition of council to allow each councillor the opportunity to fill the role of deputy.

This gives everyone experience on another level and ensures over our 4 year terms that many different views are part of the leadership of council.

This role is immensely important now that we are rebuilding our organisation and the relationship between myself and the deputy needs to be one of trust, honesty and openness.

My ideal candidate has the following attributes and as I began writing these a clear name came to the fore as the perfect person to take on the role.

  • Handles themselves well in the media
  • A good knowledge of processes and procedure in both local and higher level government
  • Able to make the hard decisions
  • Always tells it like it is even if it isn't what people might want to hear
  • If they have a problem with someone they will discuss it and resolve it privately
  • Has a very good relationship with the small community groups they work with
  • Has a positive relationship with staff & has the respect of all other councillors
  • Keen to get their teeth into worthwhile issues, eg the finance and budget areas
  • Has worked with and helped many community groups and a dedicated family person so they can understand issues the families across the region are facing

As I wrote down points on who my ideal deputy would be, there became a clear stand out councillor who has been someone who has helped keep council operating during the turmoil of last year and has not been afraid to kick me under the table if I got out of line.

This councillor truly understands and recognises the contribution of the rural communities in our region.

I see this person as an exemplary councillor with parliamentary experience which is important on so many levels right now as navigate the future.

I hope she does not mind me putting her name forward as I truly believe Cr Anne Maddern should be the deputy mayor for the Fraser Coast and I think my fellow councillors would agree that she has done a tremendous job in the past 9 months in assisting to prepare one of the best budgets the region has ever seen.

Cr Anne Maddern.
Cr Anne Maddern. Contributed

Anne has also been vital in ensuring lines of communication on strained relationships remain open within all levels of government.

As the only female in council, Cr Maddern often offers a different perspective than her fellow male counterparts. This perspective would be a fantastic asset to bring to the role of Deputy Mayor.

The second and equally important topic this week is the releasing of the recent CPEM report which has confirmed the toxic bullying culture that was rife within the council organisation. In my opinion this report should be made public to the community as a show of respect toward the staff who suffered under this toxic culture and were brave enough to speak out against it.

This report was paid for by the ratepayers and therefore they have the right to read what was written about the Fraser Coast Regional Council, whilst there is some unflattering words about councillors including myself, we as councillors are moving to rectify the issues highlighted in this report by doing necessary training and educating ourselves to perform our duties to the community in the best possible manner.

Now it is time for the community to see what had been transpiring.

No secrets and no surprises has always been my mantra and I hope all councillors are confident enough in their decisions over the past 12 months to let the public see this report warts and all.

The community funded this report and have the right to see it in its entirety.

Many staff were forced to endure a terrible working environment over the previous councils and I am confident that after reading the report in full, the public will see why I was pushing so hard to unmask the bullying and toxic culture.

This is a vote for the public to see that we have nothing to hide and that we want to be as open and transparent as legally possible as we move forward together as a community.

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