Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

HomeIssue 3Outdated policies question town council's competence

Outdated policies question town council’s competence

OpEd by PAUL LEWIS

The Alice Springs Town Council seems to cop lots of grief, but is it justified?

Are the people in charge of the Town Council fit to run it? The state of its policies certainly raises questions.

There is no standard template for policies. All policies should have a review date. They mostly don’t. Similarly, all policies should at least be dated and often any revisions are listed.

Some are quite amusing, in that they are very ambiguous, though possibly intentionally, with some “cut and paste” from other council policies that were not intended to be the same. Some examples:-

The Access Policy hasn’t been reviewed since 2002.

Of particular interest is the Alfresco Dining Policy (Policy # 301) which hasn’t been updated since 2007. Given all the COVID-19 necessities one would think this would have been updated.

The Pandemic Financial Hardship Council Policy was supposed to be reviewed in July 2020, but hasn’t.

The policy around Rates and Charges (# 510) hasn’t been updated since 2008.

I find the Borrowing Policy (# 516) interesting, but I cannot find the associated document they mention, namely “Borrowings Procedural Statement and Directives”.

The Community Development Grants Scheme Policy (# 303) hasn’t been updated since 2007.

The Corporate Sponsorship (Outgoing) Policy (COR 004) was supposed to have been updated in 2010 but hasn’t: “This is about Outcome. A more diversified economic base, Strategy, Support appropriate economic development projects, A vibrant tourism industry. Actively promote and support local events” and so on.

All of these items are fundamental development and growth issues of the town itself and the people in the town.

Procurement Policy (# 219) was supposed to be updated in June 2018 but hasn’t.

Furthermore, there are many more policies that have not been updated since 2007, for example the Childcare Centres Policy.

The Community Consultation Framework has not been updated since 2005, which may explain why Community Consultation hasn’t been working.

The Town Council’s website has outdated information, yet radio advertisements advise to obtain the latest information from their site.

For example, the Mayoral Awards is still referring to November 2020. The Youth Action Group refers to the Skate Park Festival registration date for 9 October 2020. We all agree the youths need something to occupy them. The Phoney Film Festival mentions the film being screened on the 16 July 2020.

It sure doesn’t make sense and so my conclusion is that bring it upon themselves.

In comparison, have a look at the City of Stirling Council website.

If the Alice elected government wants to regain the respect of the ratepayers, then perhaps show us that you can act in a fit and professional manner.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps it’s time for a mutiny or a new captain! We could keel haul the executives.
    There is and has been a toxic culture in the Alice Springs Town Council for many years.
    Time for a serious review I believe.
    I met with Mr Jennings once, he didn’t really take my concerns seriously, he then metaphorically patted me on the head and politely sent me on my way.
    Despite promising me feedback, there was none. It’s like when people say they’ll call you back, they rarely do.
    These people are our employees and I certainly expect more from them.

  2. Surprised, I couldn’t agree with you more. “Toxic culture” is an understatement.
    Just watch the latest blame game, if you can work your way through the Harvey Norman adverts in the “NT News to the “Advocate” section.
    We now have a $90k desk query at council and the poor bastard who is now currently Acting Director of Technical Services, not the Director, is being asked to explain whether council should be spending (our) money on extra desks. The toxic culture is alive and thriving in a workplace that as you say, “has been toxic … for many years”.
    Forget about the adage “these people are our employees”. (I wish you well, Acting Director).
    Also, watch the jockeying for positions when the lead up to the council election occurs.
    There has to be other ways for our town to win the people’s confidence and I would be interested to hear policies from those who believe their representative roles come anywhere near to representing the views of those of us who are A-political.
    We’re sick of the spin that keeps us divided. We pay our rates, because the town services are important but when it comes to politics and the political party pretenders, we are completely turned off and so the toxic show just continues.

  3. @ Relieved: Interesting when corporate people don’t do their job or are involved in some sort of scandal, at least they have the guts to resign their position (albeit through coercion at times).
    They say toxicity filters down from the top.
    In fairness though to Mr Jennings, the toxicity was well entrenched before he got there, but he has had more than and adequate amount of time to address and resolve it.
    In my opinion Mr Jennings has past his use by date, and do the right thing by the ratepayers (his employers) and exit by humbly falling on his sword.

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