A good lesson learnt from the Aged Care campaign against the Monash Council’s proposal to sell aged care is that people are direct and clear about their high expectations of Councillors’ conduct and ethical behaviours. High standards are expected to be shown by Councillors in all aspects of their public duties.
For too long, Monash Councillors have demonstrated a high sense of freedom and autocracy in what they can do for and to the community. Times are changing, and the days of what many people believe is a despotic, partisan and often nebulous leadership in Council, are very numbered. People led change in Local Government has started and is proceeding with an unstoppable momentum.
So what are the high standards of conduct and ethics the people of Monash are not just expecting but actually demanding from all Councillors, especially the Mayor, and Council management? Here is a snapshot:
These conduct and ethical behavior standards will redefine the current ‘I‘ centred culture and leadership style of this Council, to a new one that is community centred. It will no longer support what the Council can do for and to its people, but do it WITH its people. No more groupthink domination, autocratic imposition, hiding the business cases, closed meetings, bending the house rules and laws and unfocused opinionated and emotionally persuasive rationality/debates in decision making/ Council meeting discussions.
It will also require all Councillors and Administration staff to:
- Truly understand the differences between inform, consult, involve, collaborate and empower when they engage with people;
- Understand and accept that the people of Monash want engagement that gives them the opportunity of involvement, collaboration and empowerment. Council can no longer restrict and control their interactions with its people just based on controlling community engagement that merely informs and receiving peoples’ feedback from community consultation.
The people have lifted the bar high for Monash Council in community engagement. The Monash community is self empowered and coordinated as demonstrated by this expansive virtual community platform.
A new cultural shift in Council conduct and leadership is happening. People are becoming well informed, connected and self helping to ensure their civil entitlements to social democracy and inclusive participation in civic / Council matters.
The last and best part is that the State Government has recently legislated reforms in Local Government and is providing tools that communities can also use to increase transparency, accountability and performance in their Councils. Simply put, we now have the official “community governance” tools that we can use to contribute to changing Monash Council for the better. Watch this space grow……