ANDREW Fawcett is bowing out of Warrnambool City Council, disappointed that its reputation has been marred by infighting among councillors.
In his two four-year terms, he has watched teamwork disintegrate into open bitterness, which he says has probably deterred some candidates from standing for election.
“I think the fact there are only 12 candidates indicates council has a bad name in the community,” he said.
“To be successful council has to work as a team.
“Once a decision has been made you have to support it. You don’t go outside and run down a council decision.
“If that happened in state or federal cabinet you’d be sacked,” he said.
“Sometimes I went home disappointed after losing debates, but the next day there would be new issues to tackle.”
Cr Fawcett, a retired teacher who turned 66 this week, said new candidates should come with an open mind prepared to tackle a complexity of issues.
“I’d advise people to vote for candidates based on character and whether they think the candidate would make sound decisions,” he said.
“Don’t be swayed by promises.
“I came to council eight years ago with no big ideas or promises, rather to make sound decisions.
“Council has to be a vibrant body of enthusiastic people working together,” he said.
“It’s not all meetings and debates — there’s a lot of opportunity to help people.”
However, he does think councillors are paid too much and said he argued unsuccessfully against raising the allowance which went from $11,000 to about $25,000 in eight years.
Cr Fawcett said some of his highlights were the completion of the new Lighthouse Theatre, the sister city link with Changchun in China and strategic planning for new residential and industrial land.
He represented the mayor when the first group of Chinese delegates visited Warrnambool two years ago and then last year financed his own trip to China along with an official Warrnambool City delegation.
“I think we’ll see a lot of benefits flow from this link,” he said.
“With the new theatre I was council’s representative on the project committee and regularly reported back to councillors.”
He gave credit to chief executive Bruce Anson for his vision to see Warrnambool grow.
“He loves Warrnambool and has a very good management style,” Cr Fawcett said.
“He’s not a career chief executive wanting to move on.”
After his last council meeting on October 22 the retired councillor will continue his involvement with the public tenants’ association and other community groups and bird watching.