Residents might be forgiven for expecting stability in local government despite the somewhat messy, arduous and painful birth of Hilltops Council.
Residents might also be forgiven for thinking with councillors elected and in the job, that they would work towards improving the communities which make up Hilltops.
Residents might even have been forgiven for thinking councillors might just put aside politics for a term to focus on what’s best over the next three years.
It seems some members of Hilltops Council are out to disappoint ratepayers.
The NSW Government’s policy of forced mergers is short-sighted and through the mergers that eventuated, we can see how Macquarie Street failed to understand country areas they’re responsible for.
But what’s done is done and we have to live with it.
It begs the question now to why Hilltops councillors would see the value in creating distrust between staff and themselves.
“Testing the market”, as it’s been described is not silly – there’s a lot to be said for examining options.
It’s something done by residents, businesses and even governments hundreds, if not thousands of times a week.
Do we want to have white bread? What brand of white bread? What about brown bread? Which shop has the best price? The list goes on.
However, failing to renew the contract of a man who has guided council through the mess of a forced merger only serves to create ill will among council staff and the community.
What happens if the next general manager happens to make a decision councillors don’t like? What if there’s a councillor who simply doesn’t like the next GM?
What if Anthony McMahon reapplies to the position and is successful? Are we going to see a continuation of this chaos?
Everyone in NSW local government knows about the challenges faced by regional councils and by councils created through forced mergers.
The vote which left Hilltops Council’s GM’s without a contract reeks of councillors worried about their own skins at the next election or worse attempting to cause problems to show forced amalgamations aren’t wanted.
A councillor’s salary may not be millions, but surely you’d expect elected representatives to work positively towards the future.