Mayor apologises for low leadership confidence

Gore District Mayor Ben Bell has publicly apologised, after the annual residents’ survey revealed just 19% of respondents felt the mayor and councillors displayed sound and effective leadership.

The findings of the survey were tabled at the Gore District Council meeting on July 11. The council commissions the survey to find out what residents think about specific services, facilities and the council’s performance.

Last year, 42% of residents believed the mayor and councillors showed sound and effective leadership.

The 19% response ‘‘saddens me’’ but was not surprising given events since the election, Mr Bell said.

‘‘We must first and foremost apologise to our community for the erosion of trust that has occurred and is apparent in this report.

‘‘A 19% satisfaction score is in no way, shape or form something to be proud of, but is a clear indicator of how our community is unhappy with our performance and we need to do better and we will.’’

He and councillors were taking part in workshops to help them understand mistakes they had made and how to work together better, he said.

While 46% of respondents disagreed the mayor or councillors displayed sound and effective leadership, 34% were neutral.

The majority of those who disagreed (59%) said they were disappointed there had been infighting in the council since the mayor was elected, 10% were disappointed with how the council was run and 10% were disappointed in the mayor and believed he lacked life experience for the role.

However, 63% of respondents said they were satisfied with the council’s overall performance.

Cr Glenys Dickson said the low satisfaction rate with councillors’ performance was ‘‘dismal’’.

People misunderstood the situation if they perceived there was conflict between councillors, she said.

‘‘We all get on very well together.’’

Chief executive Steve Parry said given the district’s size and a similar survey was used each year, there was ‘‘the danger of survey fatigue’’.

He would check to see if the survey could be held every two years.