Balm for sore

LOCAL government is the closest people can come to the decision-making process in our society and an open and accountable government is always best.

The sore of mistrust quickly festers when people believe there are secrets hashed behind closed doors and once the seed is sown little can be done to alter that perception.

At the Town of Bassendean council meetings, one often hears the discontent of those diehard souls who regularly brave the elements to attend, only to be thrown out after a short time seated because there are matters deemed so secret that they are for councillors’ ears only.

In the spirit of fostering better relations with the ratepayers why not discuss sensitive matters at the briefing sessions or over the dinner councillors share before the public are allowed to attend the council meetings.

Wouldn’t that do much to stem the discontent felt by many?

Do councillors not see an erosion of an essential plank of the democratic process occurring by concluding meetings with such speed and perceived lack of transparency?

Wouldn’t it be ground breaking if instead of withdrawing away from the public to sup in private at ratepayer cost after meetings, that councillors engage residents over a cup of coffee after meetings; a simple act of inclusion that might be a panacea for many problems?