WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF A COUNCIL?
Both the role of Councils and elected Councillors has changed during the last three decades. It is no longer true that councils are only responsible for roads, water and rubbish.
Councils provide a range of services that are determined by consulting with their community and the development of its Community Strategic Plan. It is the community that determines the priorities moving forward.
The range of services and functions a councils provide can be summarised as:
providing and maintaining infrastructure such as: roads, parks, sporting fields, water, sewerage and art galleries;
planning for sustainable development: not just the Local Environment Plan and Development Applications but planning for growth to ensure that necessary infrastructure is funded and delivered;
protecting the environment: managing bush land reserves, street cleaning, recycling, noxious weeds and responsibilities under the Environment Operations Act 1997;
supporting the community: should regularly consult and assess the needs of their community by providing services swimming pools, playgrounds and libraries;
supporting economic development: t5hrought he provision of training courses or events and providing tourism services and facilities;
safeguarding public health: by undertaking food shop inspections, waste disposal, pest and vermin control and hazardous material containment.
THE ROLE OF A COUNCILLOR
Elected Councillors act as a governing body very similar to that of a Board of Directors for a Corporation in that they direct and control the affairs of council in accordance with the Local Government Act.
They develop and endorse the community strategic plan, programs, and other key strategies and polices. Review the performance of council, inclusive of service delivery.
Appoint the General Manager and determine senior staff positions in the council’s staff structure.
Consult regularly with community organisations and other key stakeholders and keep them informed of council decisions and activities.
Are responsible for ensuring that the council acts honestly, efficiently and appropriately.
The role of the council, led by the mayor, is to oversee the general manager’s performance in accordance with the Standard Contract.
THE ROLE OF THE GENERAL MANAGER
The General Manager’s role is to implement council decisions without undue delay and carry out functions imposed by legislation
Under the Local Government Act the general manager of a council has the following functions—
(a) – to conduct the day-to-day management of the council in accordance with the strategic plans, programs, strategies and policies of the council,
(b) – to implement, without undue delay, lawful decisions of the council,
(c) – to advise the mayor and the governing body on the development and implementation of the strategic plans, programs, strategies and policies of the council,
(d) – to advise the mayor and the governing body on the appropriate form of community consultation on the strategic plans, programs, strategies and policies of the council and other matters related to the council,
(e) – to prepare, in consultation with the mayor and the governing body, the council’s community strategic plan, community engagement strategy, resourcing strategy, delivery program, operational plan and annual report,
(f) – to ensure that the mayor and other councillors are given timely information and advice and the administrative and professional support necessary to effectively discharge their functions,
(g) – to exercise any of the functions of the council that are delegated by the council to the general manager,
(h) – to appoint staff in accordance with the organisation structure determined under this Chapter and the resources approved by the council,
(i) – to direct and dismiss staff,