Fast Buck$, Coorabell
Our mayor is a strange creature indeed. At the last Council meeting one item that came up was the performance review of general manager Mark Arnold. He’s the guy who sits next to the mayor, but otherwise seems to be little more than an explosive rubber stamp. We pay him a lot.
During my address broadly on that subject, I ventured that the senior staff routinely mislead councillors. I hadn’t named anyone but Simon got on his high horse and demanded a retraction and apology or he’d close the meeting.
This is procedurally incorrect; he should have demanded a retraction and apology, and if I refused, he could have demanded I get down from the lectern and/ or leave the meeting; only if I again refused, could he close the meeting. I don’t like collective punishment and I have to say, I played the game – which was easy because you can’t legislate sincerity; it’s all words, just words.
I then went on to say I regarded Mark Arnold as honest and idealistic but that he didn’t have what it took to assert himself. You’d think Simon would have been upset about that, but he demanded no retraction or apology; maybe he agreed with my summation.
To make matters worse Councillor Cameron asked Ralph James a question while I was still at the lectern. Ralph’s reply made assertions about Mark Arnold and what decisions he’s made while Mark was sitting just a few metres away – without being asked to speak.
If Ralph set out to demonstrate that Mark was irrelevant he couldn’t have done it more eloquently.
So, if I’m correct that the mayor routinely defers to senior staff and that Mark makes no important decisions, who in fact is calling the shots? It’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?