03 August 2014

It's just a meeting once a month?

While I rarely listen to radio people talk to me about what they hear and how they reacted to what they heard. It seems to be a common misunderstanding that being on Council involves going to a meeting for a few hours once a month, in Unley every 4th Monday of the month.  This came up following the outcome of the recent Councillors remuneration tribunal that announced how much Councillors would get paid for their services in 2014/15; in Unley a pay rise of just 2.6%.
This is what really happens, I attend:

  • a meeting every Monday night at Council, some of these are Full Council Meetings, others briefings from staff
  • most committee meetings that I do not chair: Development and Strategy, community and Culture and the Unley Business and Economic Development
  • and chair the Infrastructure and Capital Projects Committee
  • the Clarence Park Community Centre Board meetings each moth
  • the Goodwood Oval Reference group meetings
  • receive and reply to 30+email per day from staff and residents as well as initiated about half that number.
  • update my blog each day
  • answer the phone and respond to enquiries
  • meet with residents on site or in their homes
  • read agendas the size of telephone books
  • keep up to date on state issues that affect local government
  • Attend other forums if and when I have time 
I enjoy every minute of this work. I love hearing from you either by phone or email and get enormous satisfaction from being able to resolve problems. I love reading a complex agenda or document and finding something in that paper (although most of it is now electronic) that lights the fire inside me that loves what has been written or just believes there are better ways. I love working with staff on developing new ideas. I don't believe that people don't like change: I believe that that change, when well managed, gives us the opportunity to look at new ways and ideas and be inspired by them.

This all takes a minimum of 15 hours each week and sometimes double that.


  1. That's a lot of dedicated effort required.
    I was thinking of throwing my hat into the ring and running at the election, but now I'm having second thoughts.
    If I did run and get elected, could I get by on 8 hours a week.

  2. Unley Council certainly needs good female candidates. The good thing about the time commitment is that much of it you can arrange to suit your schedule, eg answering emails at 3am or visiting residents on weekends. The scheduled meetings that you must be available for are generally on a Monday evening. As an example I tend to schedule additional meetings between work and home or evening commitments, usually between 4:30pm and 6pm. If you have young children the childcare can be paid for while you meet your council obligations. Happy to discuss over coffee if you call or email

  3. perhaps with strict time management I could be able to participate about 10 hours a week. You do say that child care support is available so that would help.
    Hubby is giving me encouragement, so I am giving serious consideration to running as a Councillor in the Ward.

  4. Give me a call if you wish.