The secret is out: How you rated Cairns Regional councillors' performance
Mayor Val Schier's re-election hopes have taken a blow, with a survey revealing just 26 per cent of residents polled are satisfied with her performance.
The results from the $30,000 ratepayer-funded poll were only released after The Cairns Post asked Cairns Regional Council to publish the figures.
During the routine community surveys, 510 residents were asked to rate the performance of their local councillor and a closed meeting of the council agreed to keep the results under wraps. Fifty per cent of residents surveyed said they were unsatisfied or extremely unsatisfied with the Mayor, making her the council’s least popular elected member. About 25 per cent of people surveyed said they were neither satisfied nor unhappy with Cr Schier’s performance.
Residents were also unhappy with Di Forsyth and Kirsten Lesina, with 34 per cent of participants rating those councillors as dissatisfactory or extremely dissatisfactory. And Cr Linda Cooper was also unpopular. Only 28 per cent of residents were satisfied with her performance. Rob Pyne and Julia Leu were the highest-rated councillors, followed by Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane, who is tipped to contest the mayoral seat at the next election.
It is the first time the current council has polled residents about individual performances, giving councillors the first insight into their re-election chances in March. Cr Schier said she was not in favour of making the data confidential but the decision was made because other councillors were "sensitive" about their scores. And the Mayor insists she was not surprised by her low approval rating. "I’ve been aware that people weren’t satisfied with the council in general," Cr Schier said.
"And as the leader of the city, I guess people will blame me or will give the responsibility to me." She said her term as Mayor had been dogged by the GFC, the collapse of local construction firms, tourism downturn and rate rises. "I think it will be a very difficult election for me and I have known that for a long time." And she said the public had sensed disharmony in the council because "some councillors have behaved badly". "The previous Mayor had a majority of councillors who supported his views so it was very easy to get up a particular agenda,’’ Cr Schier said.
"This council has been much more fragmented in terms of views." The survey also asked residents if they could name their local councillor. Only 7 per cent of people in Division 5 could correctly name Alan Blake as their councillor, compared with more than half of people in Division 1 who knew Paul Gregory.
Author /source: The Cairns Post
Notwithstanding the dignified efforts of Mayor Val Schier the current Council has been destabalised by party political infighting and the fact that the likes of Blake and Cochrane never accepted Val's victory. The paradox is that in the process of destablising Val they have been tarred with the same brush. The electors of Cairns will know how to wield the axe on dead wood come election time.