Thursday, 8 May 2014

Working Together

A blog post from Tess Green

I am very thankful for the support offered by people in my ward throughout my term as a councillor. I didn’t expect this warm reception but it became very important to me.

One of my ambitions as a councillor was to challenge the waste of energy which is used by political groups on the council in sniping and undermining one another. I discussed this with Colin Smith when he became Lord Mayor and I believe that he was able to influence the behaviour of councillors during council meetings. This good work was continued by subsequent Lord Mayors. I believe that I avoided this negativity in my speeches to council and did my best to set a good example of working together. When we do work together across party divides we achieve much more for good across the city.

Unfortunately this change has not extended to press and other public statements and we have continued to see councillors undermining or bad – mouthing others to make political advantage. The negative claims that are made are often petty and only loosely based on truth, but they still do damage. As a Green, I hate this type of politics. There is nothing wrong with criticising the policies of other parties – we should do this – but personalising criticism, sometimes behind the victim’s back is unsupportable and I believe the public dislike this too.

So, I was upset to discover that my contribution to the work towards solving the lack of primary school places in Southville was being anonymously criticised. The fact is that I worked with officers of the council to try to find suitable sites for school expansion and some of my suggestions were taken up. Council officers worked tirelessly to address this problem.

Parents and schools worked well with the council to secure good outcomes here in the challenge which is being faced all over the country. Councillors including myself, contributed to this and made sure that the problem was taken very seriously and that solutions were found.

It is part of being a councillor I suppose, to be exposed to spin and negativity, but usually people are appreciative of the work I have done and this has helped to keep me going, when there was too much work and too many complex problems to cope with quickly.

The most important resource available to councillors is the feedback and support of their electorate. It helps to keep us on track to address the most important issues in our wards, so please keep it coming forward.

Tess Green