Stop hiding from the people of Ballarat

OPINION: Mayor John Philips has been 'selected' as the only councillor allowed to speak on the issue. GRAPHIC: TWITTER/@MrRosestone
OPINION: Mayor John Philips has been 'selected' as the only councillor allowed to speak on the issue. GRAPHIC: TWITTER/@MrRosestone

Wednesday’s City of Ballarat council meeting is a slap in the face to the people of Ballarat. 

Not because chief executive officer Anthony Schinck was reappointed. In fact Mr Schinck may very well be the best person for the job. 

But because our councillors have become completely unaccountable. 

This entire saga has nothing to do with Mr Schinck, but it has everything to do with our councillors telling us why he is the best candidate. 

As elected officials councillors owe the people of Ballarat answers. Tell us why he is the best CEO money can buy, tell us the thoughts behind your decisions and most importantly connect with the public. 

Mayor John Philips has been chosen by the councillors as the “spokesperson”, that is in itself is completely unacceptable.

Every single councillor that has been been elected is voted into their position to have a say and represent the public. 

Because of this decision, the residents have been completely left in the dark.

Having private meetings is completely reasonable on the issue, but surely when discussing the hiring of our most senior official it is crucial to actually talk to the public about it. 

Councillors, like any politicians, should be able to answer questions and, if there are councillors who agree that no one should be allowed to talk about their views, then they have completely lost touch with reality.

I highly doubt all councillors agreed to this initiative, and those that didn’t need to stand up and be heard because the backlash that will be felt over this will not be minor. 

If each councillor can not explain why they would make a vote after it has taken place, then they shouldn’t have made it in the first place. 

A council should be completely accountable, transparent and competent. 

Right now all of those aspects are completely questionable for the City of Ballarat. 

This week will provide the opportunity for councillors to stand up and attempt to prove their worth. 

Tell us why Mr Schinck is the best candidate, explain to us how each of you came to that decision and, maybe if you are lucky, you will even answer some hard questions on the answers.

Because remember, that is your job.  

Again, this has nothing to do with the decision itself to reappoint Mr Schinck. That may very well be a great decision. 

This issue is that very few in our community would know that because we are not told. 

We are not given any indication who has voted which way and why. 

We are kept in the dark for some reason we do not know. 

That seems like some kind of sad joke that the mayor and councillors need to explain. 

In fact, it would probably make more sense if it was a joke. 

- Matthew Dixon is a journalist with The Courier


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