CR Don Hill has defended South Gippsland Shire Council’s record after a dismal report card from ratepayers in the annual Community Satisfaction Survey, saying slanted reported was affecting public perceptions.
“If the press reports fairly, without bias – I’m prepared to stand by our record,” he said at Council’s June 27 meeting, with State Government appointed monitor Peter Stephenson looking on.
“A lot of people see those headlines, which are quite mischievous,” he said. Cr Lorraine Brunt warned him to stop speaking, as he was likely to defame local papers.
“Just my opinion,” he continued. “And that feeds into the opinions of people in survey. We’ve all got to play our part and do our best. But give credit where credit’s due. If something’s not right, call it out. That’s the role of scrutiny. Fairly represent what’s happening and the community will start to improve with its satisfaction.”
Cr Alyson said the survey had been another contentious issue that had been “splashed across the media”.
“I’m not, not acknowledging there’s definite room for improvement in this. I like to look at the half full glass. There are certain areas reflected in this survey where we’re doing reasonably well,” she said.
Cr Andrew McEwen, who voted against noting the report, described it as “an annual obfuscation of results rather than honest annual assessment of what’s going wrong”.
“Yet again we’ve got a bad report card – a D minus. If this was any other business we’d be analyzing this to turn it around,” he said. He believes the problem is at the “strategic leadership level”.
Cr Meg Edwards said public perceptions “start with us nine councillors”.
“It’s not about pushing the blame anywhere else, it’s with us. While I acknowledge and agree that we take it on the chin, it doesn’t help to repeat things in public forums,” she said.
“In public we need to talk up what we’re doing right, listen to what we’re doing wrong, but not denigrate ourselves and Council. “I’ve heard it too often. It just disappoints me. We need to take responsibility. We nine councillors.”