Council for the people

YOU know what's wrong with our councillors, don't you?

That's right: there's not enough of them. Not by a long way.

By my calculations, we need six times as many. Six of the blighters for each of the 10 wards.

How so? Well, surely I'm not alone in fearing that when a new council is elected next month, it could be dominated by morons and dullards and wasters.

Think about it. There's $500,000 in salary and expenses over a four-year-term on offer and you don't need any qualifications to get your grubby paws on it.

Once you're in, you're in, no matter how incompetent or deceitful.

The problem, as I see it, is that while the $100,000 a year salary has the potential to attract people who could never imagine dragging in that kind of wedge in real life, it's not enough to draw really intelligent and successful people from finance, academia, medicine, town planning and the like.

But hold on, I hear you say, won't increasing the number of councillors be prohibitively expensive?

To which I reply, not if we don't pay them it won't.

The reason I'd like to see an elected body of 60 is to give the brightest and most able in our community the opportunity to make a telling contribution, part-time. Councillors would be able to continue to run businesses, teach, save lives, run unions, coach sport or whatever.

Having so many of them would allow them to share the duties. And it would ensure that constituents would be able to find a representative who understands and cares about their issues.

All walks of life could be represented, all of them acting out of a genuine desire to give something back.

It would allow special interest groups to be represented - all for out of pocket expenses and the honour of serving their fellow citizens.

It would also make for some stimulating and interesting debates.

And it wouldn't really matter if there were some morons and dullards and wasters among them because their potential to influence decisions would be vastly reduced.

We'd still need a mayor of course. But with the money we'd save we'd be able to afford a really good one.

Worth thinking about, don't you think?

 

An Englishman Abroad with Adrian Taylor



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