A year and more has gone since the first Hilltops Council was elected.
As a first term councillor I have been negotiating my way through the intricacies of meeting procedure and coming to grips with the diverse role that local government plays.
I am often asked if I “enjoy” council. Six months ago, my answer might have been more reserved than today when I can, with honesty, reply that “yes” – I am enjoying my role as an elected councillor for our wonderful Hilltops region.
As I travel around the region, I am awed by the social capital that is held in Hilltops. The World Bank says of social capital that “it is not just the sum of the institutions which underpin society - it is the glue that holds them together”. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests “we can think of social capital as the links, shared values and understandings in society that enable individuals and groups to trust each other and so work together”.
Another form of capital is “human capital” which includes the qualifications, skills and experience that a person brings to an organisation. In our modern world education is lifelong and Hilltops councillors attend workshops, conferences and seminars to increase their human capital.
The recent Local Government NSW conference was an interesting exercise as was a workshop concentrating on chairing and effective meeting procedures (a report on both in the next council business papers).
Some advice from the workshop: “Amendments may themselves be amended, but the Chair should not let this get out of hand, or people will lose track of what they are talking about”.
I will close before I lose track of what I am saying.