Full marks for two council school graduates
WHILE all eyes have been on the year 12 students graduating into their adult lives, two more mature students have also finished their own studies.
It was a case of going back to school for two councillors, as they hit the books to gain diplomas in local government in a bid to better understand their roles.
Somerset Regional Council’s Cheryl Gaedtke and Lockyer Valley Regional Council’s Michael Hagan have completed Diplomas of Local Government for elected representatives offered by the Local Government Association of Queensland.
While they won’t be hitting the streets of Surfers Paradise to celebrate, the pair were excited to have completed the course.
“It’s good to complete it, it’s a lot of research, a lot of hours and late nights,” Cr Hagan said.
“So it’s nice to feel that sense of achievement.”
Councillor Gaedtke has been involved with local councils since she was 16, and said the course have given her a better perspective of the roles and responsibilities of councillors, which had changed dramatically.
Cr Hagan agreed, and said the course also highlighted the roles of council departments.
“I’ve found going through all that assignment process, you have to work with relevant staff members and officers so it gives you an even deeper insight into what they’re going through and how the whole organisation fits together,” he said.
Cr Gaedtke said the assignment required the councillors to work closely with relevant council staff, which had been a huge benefit.
“Because you need to consult with staff … you’re working with them on a greater connection so you understand more of what they’re doing,” she said.
“It’s given me a different insight, which I didn’t think I would have.”
The course covered a range of topics including planning legislation, asset management, budgeting, finance management, and human resource management.
Cr Gaedtke said with the roles of local councillors becoming increasingly crucial, learning on the job wasn’t an option anymore.
“You can’t afford to do that now,” she said.
Given recent corruption scandals which have tarnished Queensland councils, both councillors encouraged other local officials to undertake the course as well.