St Albans News asked several current councillors and community board members about workloads and roles. An article was created, based largely on replies from three councillors or community board members who responded, for August/September St Albans News, which is being delivered to St Albans letterboxes this weekend. For space reasons details had to be left out of the print article. Nominations for local authority candidates close on August 16.. This is how Cr Mike Davidson replied by email. These notes are the raw material from which the article draws.
It can be hard sometimes to break it down in to bite size amounts because every meeting no matter if it’s for Council, Community Board or a Committee is different and depending on the content can take up more or less of your time. I usually spend about 40-70 hours per week on my role as a Councillor.
In general we have two Council meeting a month and these last all day. We have a Finance and Performance Committee of the whole meeting each month that also last all day. Other committee meetings are also once a month and last for 4 hours. Community Board meetings last for 2 hours and there are two a month. We have briefings for Committees and Community Boards…I would say on average about I would spend about 10 hours per month on this.
The Committees I am on are Infrastructure, Transport and Environment. Innovation and Sustainable Development. Community, Social Development and Housing. Finance and Performance. I am the deputy chair of ITE.
I am also on Climate Change working group and Land Drainage working group. 2-3 hours per month.
We also have Council briefings about 6 hours per week.
Prep time depends on the content of the meeting and can take a considerable amount of time…I would spend around 10 – 20 hours per week prepping…sometime a lot more.
Councillor activities outside of these vary depending on the time of year but often involves nights and weekends. I would say I would do around 10 hours per week on this…but there have weeks where I am out most nights.
Councillors or Community Board members can put in a lot of hours or just do the bare minimum…but those who do the bare minimum will not be effective
I personally think being a Chairperson of a Community Board is the best preparation for the role of a Councillor.
Process can be frustrating and people need to realise the wheels of local government turn slowly, but they do turn.
We have made some excellent changes this term by creating the governance partnership with the Community Boards and giving Community Boards more delegations. I believe this best thing we can do for Community Boards is to give them more local decision making ability.
There are a number of skill sets that Elected members require…but they need to stand for the right reason….Christchurch and the people of Christchurch. Having a variety of skills around the table is a good thing.
Elected members need to understand what needs to be kept in confidence and make the right decisions even when they are unpopular. Have an open mind on everything.
St Albans News thanks Mike Davidson for taking the time to respond as this gives potential candidates and the rest of Christchurch a better idea of what he does and the time commitment involved.