Edward Mandla
COUNCIL SPEECHES
2012-2016 Accomplishments

Published On: 15/08/2016

When this Mayoral Minute arrived today the first thought that entered my mind was that so many eggs have been broken in this term of office, and so few omelettes have been made.

And when somebody else offered us their menu, we sneered at them and said “Not invented here, please go away”. On a number of occasions, we actually said we know best as “we have a panel of experts”.

The most reliable indicator that of a group of people has been there too long, is they start congratulating themselves.

We toyed with tri-generation, spent over 10 million (surely closer to 20 than 10 million) and after the gestation period of an elephant we have given birth to a mouse. We formed committees to ruminate on the musings of Joseph Stieglitz when he flew into town, and pondered out loud about social sustainability that was created in a Mayoral Minute and has never been seen or heard of again.

We agonised at length about how to enfranchise those who paid 78% of the cost of us being here, the business people who serve this City, the people who make our daily coffee – those “small minded business people”, as they were often referred to in this Chamber.

We fought the franchise to do so, criticised it, applauded and then kicking and screaming implemented it (or part of it). We even paid for protests, that were not attended by enough people to fill a canoe!

I will get into bed tonight knowing that over 450 people still sleep outside without a warm meal or surrounded by those that love them. None of the homeless I or my office have met, have ever thanked us for forming Committees to look into social cohesion or praised our way of dealing with them using a “Collaborative approach” based on a “co-production model from the United Kingdom.

Oxford Street continued its death spiral and we fobbed them off telling them it’s really not so bad because we had leased our shops at peppercorn rents to Tenants of dubious merit and we searched desperately for some metric to wrap around it. We have still failed miserably, Oxford Street is a forlorn disaster and we have added nothing to it.

What we have been world class in, is seeking to place blame at the feet of others, never once thinking we had not measured up, it’s all self-congratulation here in that City of Sydney. The night time economy faltered, we blamed someone else and we are still the proud owners of a contaminated depot in Ultimo after negotiations broke down with the State Government to sell it for a school. Never once in four years, had we sought to blame ourselves for anything.

Nor at any time did we think we should consider the ease, or lack of it, with which people suffer when they deal with us. We made no process improvements I am aware of nor turned our minds to making it easier for people to work with the City of Sydney. We do however send $6,000 infringement notices in the mail to small business, whether it be for a noisy belly dancer or for erecting a celebration Australia Day flag over a shop.

For those who would like another go at this (and there’s not many in the room), we now we stand to be judged on September 10 before those we swore to serve 4 years ago and who gave us their legitimacy through the ballot box.

We stand before the hundreds of people that sat at the end of this table in Committees and said they hadn’t been consulted or barely listened to. To add insult to injury – we told them they never had it so good. I know this much, very few of the people that interacted with us, thought it was easy or a pleasant experience.

But it has been a pleasure to work with each and every individual Councillor. It was a honour and your contributions will always be etched in my mind. I wish you all good health, as best as possible, with some of the health challengers that are being fought. I will miss you.

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