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SSC Newspaper : August 2012
there are no easy answers and they usually take a long time to resolve. Tree issues are also hard to deal with because we cannot take out healthy trees “just in case”, otherwise we would have a serious shortage of trees. Trees that are at risk of falling or dropping branches into back yard where children play are always very emotional issues to deal with. We have to work through each case on its merits. What lessons do you take aWay? The people in Strathfield are fantastic and the whole community has a village feel. Everywhere you go people take the time to stop and say hello and have a chat and catch- up. As a councillor, people have always been welcoming and kind to me. I am very humbled by the wonderful people in our community. Also, I am amazed at the people who work at Council. They are very professional. They have demanding jobs and work incredibly long hours yet they still have a smile on their face and are always willing to listen. What next for you? One more round for me! I am coming back to focus on my work with the community. What advice Would you give to potential neW councillors? Collegiality not adversarial behaviour in Council – at this level of government we are colleagues united in a common purpose of working with, and for the people of Strathfield. Adversarial politics destroys democracy because you end up pushing your own agenda and in doing so fail to represent the people of Strathfield. The hardest thing I found as a new councillor was that it takes time to get things done. You are bursting full of great ideas and you just want to get on with it. But you have to be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. With Council, new proposals must be investigated and then reported back to Council for approval by all councillors, especially if it is a non-budgetary item. As a councillor, never assume you know what is going on – listen to the whole story and get both sides of the story. if there Was one thing you could change, What Would it be? Remove the politics and adversarial behaviour. These are never in the best interest of residents. any anecdotes you can share? I was door-knocking and approached a house. There was a skip bin out the front and lots of paint tins around – a renovation was underway. I duly knocked on the door and a gentleman responded saying, “ Wait a moment, I just have to put this down.” Assuming it was a paint tin I said, “No worries, I can smell it (paint).” He poked his head around the corner with a packet of toilet paper. Both of us had a great belly laugh. Name Tony Maroun OccupatiON Self-employed consultant, primarily in the small business sector. pOlitical party Liberal Party hoW long have you served? I have been a councillor for a combined total of just over 12-and-a -half years, in both the Strathfield and Burwood local government areas and I have served as Mayor in both local government areas. Why did you become a councillor? Because I’ve always had a passion to serve the community, which emanates from my over 35 years involvement in ethnic affairs, both in a professional capacity and on a voluntary basis. IfeelthatthefactIwillnotbeapartofthe incoming council is not the end of my political career but just a temporary setback. I see myself as being back in some capacity representing the community in the future. the best thing you’ve done? I was known as the “unity Mayor” because I united Council and brought back stability to a very unstable Council. I would have to admit that my job was made all the more easy by the very professional staff we have at Strathfield Council. They follow the example of the General Manager, who makes sure everything runs smoothly and is always there to support both councillors and staff. I also had the honour of being Mayor of Strathfield when it celebrated its 125th Anniversary of being proclaimed as a municipality. Coincidentally, I was also the Mayor of Burwood when it celebrated its 125th Anniversary of being proclaimed as a municipality many years earlier. Some other highlights of my mayoralty were Strathfield Council winning the prestigious Local Sustainability Award at the NSW Local Government and Shires Association Excellence in the Environment Awards and the commencement of a new sister city partnership with Gapyeong County in South Korea. Another important milestone in my time on Strathfield Council was when the Local Government Association of NSW honoured me with the title of Emeritus Mayor in recognition of my service to the people through local government. What advice Would you give to potential neW councillors? Local government is the tier of government closest to the people and anyone who enters local government must have as their primary objective the desire and passion to serve the community. It has been an honour and a privilege for me to have served as both a councillor and as Mayor of Strathfield. Strathfield Municipality is a great place to live and work in, and is the “jewel of the inner west”. I hope that it retains these characteristics for many years to come. Name Bill Carney OccupatiON Barrister pOlitical party Liberal Party hoW long have you served? 8 years. Why did you become a councillor? I wanted to have a say in council and in particular was worried by the direction council was taking at the time. What is the best thing you’ve done in your time on council? Being Mayor, helping create a strong and transparent council. Worst thing you’ve had to do? I don’t really have a worst thing , sometimes you just have to make decisions which are difficult, the most disappointing was that so many people think that you don’t worry about the truth in politics. What lessons do you take aWay? That people really don’t know how government works. Why are you retiring? For family reasons. What advice Would you give to potential neW councillors? Do this because you love the area and for the community and not interest groups who present themselves. any anecdotes you can share? When I was mayor, a neighbour wanted me to cut down a tree council had refused to allow to be cut down because “I was now mayor”. Unfortunately many people think mayors have this type of power. Name Paul Barron OccupatiON Configuration Officer pOlitical party Independent hoW long have you served? 81⁄2 years. Why did you become a councillor? You live in a community so it is important to put something back into that community. the best thing you’ve done? Keeping Council financially sustainable. This council has no debt. Other councils are suffering from financial stress. Worst thing you’ve had to do? Read out to Council about the passing away of Cr Eswaran. What lessons do you take aWay? Council is for independents not political parties. Why are you retiring? Time to move on with my partner. Council can be very time-consuming. What advice Would you give to potential neW councillors? Don’t forget about the residents. Look after local issues and not the party politics. if there Was one thing you could change, What Would it be? Councillors must live in the local area. There are some councillors who are running in this election who live in other suburbs. any anecdotes you can share? You get to meet all sorts of people when in council. The good, the characters and the not so good. Strathfield Scene 19 www.ourstrathfield.com.au life