Councils guilty by association

RIVERLAND councillors must roll their eyes each time Lorraine Rosenberg bobs up in the media.
The Local Government Association CEO has copped a hammering in the media over the past 12 to 15 months, mainly over the trials and tribulations of Onkaparinga Council, which she oversees as mayor.
Her LGA role has also attracted plenty of attention, largely because of the group’s vehement and expensive opposition to the SA Liberals’ populist rate-capping policy.
Earlier this week Ms Rosenberg was publicly urged to resign from her LGA role. The request would be nothing new for the thick-skinned mayor – indeed individual elected members from various SA councils have almost certainly asked her to do the same in recent times.
Because negative coverage of Ms Rosenberg, her council and the LGA has damaged the ‘brand’ of all councils in SA.
Ms Rosenberg has previously stated she has nothing to apologise for, and if a person is convinced they don’t need to apologise – let alone resign – they would be both infuriated and hurt when media commentators called for their resignation. Hence her dogged determination to stick it out.
Other councils, including those in the Riverland, would feel that the constant coverage of Ms Rosenberg and the Onkaparinga Council’s trials and tribulations is a bad look, and is making their lives harder.
And it probably is.
Local government always makes news, but the level of scrutiny applied to SA councils has certainly escalated since Ms Rosenberg, her CEO and her council starting making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
But maybe this extra attention on councils is a good thing. Maybe one day we’ll be thanking Lorraine Rosenberg and her council for shining a light on councils and their activities.
Councils doing the right thing would surely welcome such attention, as they would no longer be guilty by association. And ratepayers could rest a little easier knowing the chances of their council splurging money on ridiculous expenses that fail the sniff test have declined, even just a little.

Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell rejoined The Murray Pioneer as editor in late 2006. He started at The Pioneer in 1996 as a cadet journalist, before moving to The Loxton News as editor in 2002. He has won several journalism awards during his career.

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