The Function of Council
            Michelle Kleinert                                           Virginia Tachos        
This was the focus of our last Zoom meeting  shedding light on local government and its functioning   The visiting speaker was Michelle Kleinert who was recommended by our good friend Councillor Virginia Tachos, Councillor at the Brimbank Council  .     Councillor Kleinert was Manningham Mayor . and in 2016/17 she led the charge in establishing a youth mental health outreach service with headspace in Hawthorn, helping to raise more than $100,000 towards establishing a program for young people aged 12 to 25 in Manningham . The following is her resume of her address last Tuesday night .
“Always good to hear why and how someone finds interest in standing for council and every story is different.  The role of a Councillor we learnt was essential like a board member.  Approving budgets, strategic planning, policy makers and endorsers and hiring the CEO.  Getting involved in operational matters can lead to prison and/or a substantial fine of just under $100,000 so don’t think about asking for your next fine to be excused by your local councillor!!  Who are the best councillors?  Those that love their community, want to contribute in a positive way and are passionate about making a difference.  
It is notable to highlight that a Councillor does not take on this role for the money.  They are not an employee of council and don’t have an office for a 9-5 place.  As stated before they are similar to a board member.  They are given an allowance and need to do their own tax and superannuation with this amount.  When you divide the hours spent on council briefings, meetings, committees, community events, emails, reading of documents, phone calls and more you will find that a Councillor is paid less then the person working at a supermarket who clocks on and off and goes home and the job is done.  A councilor’s duty does not really stop so burn out is a common occurrence and  balance is important as well as good support and sounding board to assist as issues arise.  
Being a thankless task and often the brunt of residence anger . council life is a balance like all things in life, the mix of the good, the bad and the ugly.   If you can get past the bad and the ugly and recognise that local government is the closest to the people then the appeal outweighs the struggles. With more then 100 services provided by council its a fact that from your first to your last breath that  council has provided a service that is available to you. 
We all know people who would be great for this role.  There is no special requisite, just age over 18, being Australian and have no criminal convictions.  Everyone knows someone who would be perfect in the role so talk to them about it. Support and encourage good people to a role as a councillor or even a role on the various committees council have.  
Rotary clubs have a network of community minded volunteers.  There is a lot of opportunity for Rotary to work closely with local government and local government needs organisations like Rotary more then ever.  The key is to invite your local councillors to your events, openings, president change over dinners and recognition nights.  This helps to answer questions and seek advice and also will promote what Rotary is doing in the local area..  
The State government has a 50/50 gender equality strategy and seek this for local government to be achieved by 2024.  Currently we have in Victoria 38 % women, with 13 municipalities with one female on council. There is still work to be done to encourage more women to local government and everyone is part of making this happen. The 2020 council elections are on so now is a great time to speak to someone you know with  interest to consider them standing.  “
We thank Councillor Virginia for recommending Michelle as a presenter at this meeting . We look forward to continuing our Friendship with both of them