Councillors cut their teeth at workshops

HOT SEAT: New and returning councillors have undertaken training to ready themselves for their term in local government.
HOT SEAT: New and returning councillors have undertaken training to ready themselves for their term in local government. Trevor Veale

COUNCILLORS across the Mid North Coast have been put through their paces in the lead up to their first meetings.

Coffs Harbour City Council recently hosted councillor workshops for new and returning councillors to upskill and be ready for their first meeting next Thursday.

Cr Jan Strom said she enjoyed "getting back into the saddle" learning about changes since serving on the council 14 years ago.

Amendments to the Local Government Act as well as modifications to council processes and IT systems were an interesting learning curve for Cr Strom.

"I guess in any workplaces there are going to be tweaks to how things are done," Cr Strom said.

Technological advances were a big change for Cr Strom, who in her previous term as a councillor had her business papers delivered by post, as opposed to now, when they are sent via email.

"In fact, I still have hard copies of my old delivered council papers in boxes at home," Cr Strom said.

Nambucca and Bellingen Shire councils held a series of joint workshops for their incoming councillors prior to their first meetings last week.

The Mayor of Nambucca Shire Council, Rhonda Hoban, chaired her first meeting of the new term in Nambucca last Thursday.

Cr Hoban said the meeting enabled the councillors to cut their teeth on a broad range of community issues from the sale of public land to considering new refugee settlement opportunities in the shire.

"A huge learning curve" is how Cr Hoban described the journey as a councillor with the three-time mayor admitting she, too, learnt something new each day.

"I have been a councillor for 12 years and I am still learning things because of the broad range of issues council considers," Cr Hoban said.

As a newcomer to local government, Bellingen Shire councillor Jennie Fenton said being sworn in at the Bellingen Shire Council meeting on Wednesday last week reinforced there was a lot more to being a councillor than reading a business paper.

"The swearing in was a great honour. That moment of taking the oath in front of the community enforced that trust they've put in us," Cr Fenton said.

Topics:  coffs coast council councillors mid north coast training

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