25 years of service by Councillor Swadling
I HAD the privilege this week of looking on as Councillor Rose Swadling was among those honoured for 25 years of service to local government in Queensland.
In his speech that followed, the CEO of the Local Government Association Queensland said that the longest service ever awarded was a certificate for 50 years.
In truth as the role becomes more complicated and subject to the bow waves of changing legislation and changing community expectations - I suspect that the days of very long serving councillors are numbered.
As I watched Councillor Swadling receive the accolades and respect of her peers I thought about all the ways in which Rose fills gaps and makes linkages in our community.
I remember her saying years ago that she was a workhorse not a show pony.
Rose has carried an incredible load and worked tirelessly.
Her constituents have always been well represented.
She comes to the table well prepared for the decisions that need to be made that day.
And her phone never stops working.
Councillor Swadling has given her life to serving the community of Rockhampton.
No doubt there will be people in the community turning their mind to whether they might have a tilt at council.
Some recent changes will mean the experience may be a little different this time.
Some of the changes have had wide support within the local government community but others are going to be a little more difficult in the workings out.
Intending candidates will now be subject to more requirements including, among other things, undertaking real-time electoral financial disclosures.
This isn’t a bad thing in terms of transparency. But it is something that you will need to be prepared for because the penalties of getting it wrong are quite severe.
And candidates (even sitting councillors and mayors) will need to undertake mandatory training and sit and pass an exam about responsibilities and the role of local government.
There are also new rules around bank accounts and developer donations and teams.
Something to think about while we begin our farewells to Councillor Rose Swadling and Councillor Stephen Schwarten.