27 February, 2024

Final parting words

Retiring Councillor Cheryl Gaedtke has final say after nearly 40 years of service for local residents.

"I believe that as a retiring councillor for our beautiful region I have a responsibility to voice my experience" Cheryl Gaedtke.
"I believe that as a retiring councillor for our beautiful region I have a responsibility to voice my experience" Cheryl Gaedtke.

I read with great interest the number of Mayors and Councillors who are farewelling their public role and catching up with long held dreams, unreached goals or just to have more time to spend with family and friends, or even to undertake more seriously other passions or hobbies.

After 39 years of working for Local Government, 31 years of that time as a staff member and then eight years as a councillor, I possess a great deal of knowledge, experience and memories.

I hear you ask why would anyone stay in one job their whole career?

That question is easy to answer. It is all about what can be achieved for our communities by working as a strong, dedicated and collaborative team.

The team consists of the Mayor, councillors, council staff, and, at various times, community and/or business representatives.

I’m proud to be involved as a team player in the achievements of Somerset Regional Council and the former Kilcoy Shire Council, representing a collective eff ort toward meaningful progress and a positive impact on the community.

The dedication to serving the region, fostering growth, and enhancing the quality of life for residents resonates deeply.

Through collaboration and cooperation with colleagues, stakeholders, and community members, it is fulfilling to implement effective strategies, address challenges, and achieve notable successes for the community.

Local Government is not recognised in the Australian constitution.

Therefore, local councils operate under the supervision and delegation of state government.

And there lies the challenges for local government.

I have seen many changes over my career, but nothing like what has occurred over the past four to five years.

Sadly, due to the corrupt actions of only a few about six years ago, all other councils have been tarred with the same brush and continue to fight for a common-sense approach to governance.

During my career I have seen councils that become dysfunctional, and often it is due to personality differences.

So, after vetting telephone calls and face to face conversation, I believe that as a retiring councillor for our beautiful region, I have a responsibility to voice my experience, and to voice my knowledge acquired for Somerset Regional Council since amalgamation of Kilcoy and Esk Shire Councils in 2008.

Come March 16, you, as a voting resident of our region, will have the right to express your preference for our Mayor and our six councillors.

Please make your vote count by completing a formal vote that records your choice of Mayor as one ballot paper and your choice of six councillors on another ballot paper.

Quite openly, my vote for Mayor will go to Cr Jason Wendt.

I have worked with Jason for four years, and it has been refreshing to work with someone who draws on his curiosity, integrity, honesty, intelligence and fair play to fulfil this public role as councillor.

These qualities will carry him through to competently fulfil the Mayoral role.

As I have said to others, Jason will lead our region in the manner we deserve to be led, with fresh eyes and ongoing commitment and drive.

The Mayor sits at the very top of the council organisational structure.

This position is in charge.

The six councillors are positioned below the Mayor, with the CEO appearing below the councillors.

The Mayor and councillors are appointed twenty-four/seven in their public role, their attitude, their behaviour, their values, even their morals are reflected on the council.

Council’s image, its ability to govern, and much more can be impacted by a departure from any of the above values.

Our council in my opinion, must also remain apolitical.

So, when you mark the ballot paper, please consider the seriousness of your vote.

I urge you to talk to each candidate, ask them questions, get to know them a little better, so you can be confident to cast your vote.

Councillors Helen Brieschke and Bob Whalley are two such councillors with a breadth of information, experience and knowledge.

They will be the stabilising members to the newly elected council of six.

As I said prior, give serious consideration to the Mayor and six candidates you choose, and remember you will have them for four years.


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