Memorandum by Olga Calnan
I should like to suggest the following reforms
(1) It seems that the party Whip is used
to prevent real discussion. It should be rarely used and never
to stifle genuine dissent.
(2) Consultation exercises should be scrutinized
from the outset by a panel of appropriate citizens. The format
of the questionnaire should be carefully considered.
(3) All Councillors should clearly understand
that they represent their ward members first and the Party, second.
No Councillor should have to vote against his conscience.
(4) There should be a fast route for complaints
from electors about the performance of Council officers; underperformance
should not be tolerated and salaries should not be inflated as
an incentive to better performance. The incentive should be, to
do the job properly or to be demoted.
(5) A referendum should state clearly the
powers of elected Councillors. The electorate should have some
form of control over policy decisions and should monitor performance.
(6) Rises in Councillors emoluments should
be across-the-board and not excessive, or the principle of public
service will be lost.
(7) Councillors must retain the power to
affect decision-making; mere scrutiny after the decisions are
made will reduce them to impotence in the eyes of the electorate
and nobody will bother to vote for impotent Councillors, however
sympathetic and available they make themselves.
10 July 1999