What does it mean to be an elected member?

The following role description is a guide for what is expected.

The Mayor

The mayor is elected by the district as a whole and, as one of the elected members, shares the same responsibilities as other members of the council. The mayor also has the following roles:

  • presiding at council meetings including ensuring the orderly conduct of business during meetings (as determined by standing orders) advocating on behalf of the community involving the promotion of the community and representation of its interests. Such advocacy will be most effective where it is carried out with the knowledge and support of the council;
  • spokesperson for the council
  • ceremonial head of the council
  • providing leadership and feedback to other elected members on teamwork and chairing of committees
  • fulfilling the responsibilities of a Justice of the Peace (while the mayor holds office)
  • providing leadership to the other members of the council and the people of the area
  • leading the development of the council’s plans, policies, and budgets for consideration by the members of the council.

The Deputy Mayor

The mayor has the power to appoint the deputy mayor. The deputy mayor exercises the same roles as other elected members, and if the mayor is absent or incapacitated, the deputy mayor must perform all of the responsibilities and duties, and may exercise the powers, of the mayor (as summarised above). The deputy mayor may be removed from office by resolution of the council.

Councillors

  • Representing the interests of the council
  • Formulating the council’s strategic direction and relative priorities through the Long Term Plan (LTP), which determines the services and activities to be undertaken by council over a ten-year period
  • Determining the expenditure and funding requirements of council activities through the LTP and annual planning processes
  • Overseeing, developing and/or approving all council policies, administrative, legal, financial and strategic, including formal district planning matters within the council’s geographical area of responsibility
  • Monitoring the on-going performance of council against its stated objectives and policies (including formal sign-off of the Annual Report)
  • Ensuring prudent use of council resources
  • Law-making (bylaws)
  • Overseeing council compliance with any relevant Acts of Parliament
  • Employing, setting performance requirements for, and monitoring the on-going performance of the council’s Chief Executive. (Under the Local Government Act 2002).

All elected members are tasked with:

  • Bringing the views of the community into council decision-making processes
  • Being an advocate for community groups and individuals at council meetings
  • Balancing the need to advocate for specific interests against the needs of the wider community
  • Listening to the concerns of local residents and ratepayers on issues pertaining to the council
  • Maintaining contact with community representatives and other local stakeholders
  • Participating in any relevant consultative processes with the local community and/or other organisations.
    Participating constructively and effectively in the good governance of the council as a whole
  • Understanding and ensuring that basic principles of good governance are a part of the decision-making approach of the council
  • Recognising that the governance role does not extend to operational matters or to the management of any implementation
  • Participating in the setting and monitoring of council policies, budgets, strategies and service delivery through annual and long-term planning processes
  • Ensuring familiarity with agendas and other council reports before council meetings
  • Being familiar with and complying with the statutory requirements of an elected councillor
  • Complying with the Code of Conduct adopted by the council
  • Identifying, being aware of and declaring any potential personal conflicts of interest, whether of a pecuniary or non-pecuniary nature.