Prospective Councillors, here's how you can earn my vote.

My day’s full of conversation, it’s one of the perks of running a café. Last week’s blog about 389 million reasons to think hard before we vote in Council elections certainly struck a chord. 

Here’s a thought: We’ve got people standing for Council because they want to be community leaders. Shouldn’t it be the other way around – shouldn’t actual community leaders be the ones standing for Council?

It’s occurred to me and to those many customers I've chatted to, that we don't really know those people who’ve put themselves up for election. Sure, there were a handful of Good Council Group meetings and one all-candidate forum, but life’s busy and family and work always comes first.

Our letterboxes are stuffed with flyers where more effort’s gone into graphic design and posed photos, than into text about the author and why they’re putting themselves up for election. There are a few signs about the place, and some candidates have Facebook Pages – but really, it’s all one-way conversation. 

Unless candidates bother to visit us, how do we get to know them? How do we make an informed vote? I hope candidates knock on my door and visit my cafe. (To any prospective Councillors reading this: see you soon!)

Understanding the skills and knowledge each candidate offers is a good start. To do this, I’ve prepared a selection criteria. This approach is used extensively in business and Government to help evaluate a person's suitability for a new role. I've developed my candidate questions from www.goodgovernance.org.au - the Municipal Association of Victoria, Victorian Local Governance Association and Victorian Government are behind this website.  

The questions I’ve prepared give potential Councillors an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and provide examples from their work, life experiences and understanding of the role. This, of course, demonstrates their integrity. Being able to compare the responses of each candidate helps voters like me make an informed choice and hold those elected accountable further down the track.

So, here’s a link to the selection criteria I’ll be using. You’re welcome to borrow it, email it to candidates in your ward or better yet, look up the Guide and prepare your own questions. When you see one of our twenty candidates, put them on the spot. If they’re running for Council they should ideally already have a good understanding of governance.

  • Here's my selection criteria
  • Here's the list of candidates for the Rural City of Wangaratta 2016 elections.

How are you choosing who to vote for? I'd value your thoughts.