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What do Councillors actually do?

oldkilcormack

New member
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
1
There has been a lot of talk recently about the role of councillor and how hard it is and how maybe it should be full time and paid up and all the rest of it. There must be some truth to this given the attrition rate on dublin city council in particular recently.

But from what I know of the operation there are perhaps two mandatory meetings a month (area committees and full council meeting) and perhaps an SPC or VEC thrown in bringing it up to perhaps 4 (or 5?) meetings a month.. Now granted these are daytime meetings which mightn't suit someone in private employment but it's still not that arduous.

Presumably they get invited to lots of residents meetings and all that malarky as well but that's not mandatory and a lot of these are a waste of time anyway. They probably spend a bit of time canvassing or leafletting their own locality and talking to the press but that's political stuff that anyone involved in politics should be up to anyway..

So what else do they get up to? Maybe the councillors on here could shed some light - what volume of representations do you get? What official council work do you do in addition to the above meetings?
 


mairteenpak

Active member
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
196
A lot of State employees are paid by the State to attend Council meetings, being given time off to do so with pay. They are also given a salary type payment for their Council duties.

They should be double or tripple paid
 

loner

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2005
Messages
8,174
Not a lot but it is not entirely their fault.It is high time real power should be given to local authorities. Maybe John Gormley would consider setting up a commission to examine this matter and report to Govt within 2 years.
 

rockofcashel

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
8,035
Website
www.sinnfein.ie
oldkilcormack said:
There has been a lot of talk recently about the role of councillor and how hard it is and how maybe it should be full time and paid up and all the rest of it. There must be some truth to this given the attrition rate on dublin city council in particular recently.

But from what I know of the operation there are perhaps two mandatory meetings a month (area committees and full council meeting) and perhaps an SPC or VEC thrown in bringing it up to perhaps 4 (or 5?) meetings a month.. Now granted these are daytime meetings which mightn't suit someone in private employment but it's still not that arduous.

Presumably they get invited to lots of residents meetings and all that malarky as well but that's not mandatory and a lot of these are a waste of time anyway. They probably spend a bit of time canvassing or leafletting their own locality and talking to the press but that's political stuff that anyone involved in politics should be up to anyway..

So what else do they get up to? Maybe the councillors on here could shed some light - what volume of representations do you get? What official council work do you do in addition to the above meetings?
5-7 funerals per week as well, you forgot that
 

croppyboy

Active member
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Messages
131
rockofcashel said:
oldkilcormack said:
There has been a lot of talk recently about the role of councillor and how hard it is and how maybe it should be full time and paid up and all the rest of it. There must be some truth to this given the attrition rate on dublin city council in particular recently.

But from what I know of the operation there are perhaps two mandatory meetings a month (area committees and full council meeting) and perhaps an SPC or VEC thrown in bringing it up to perhaps 4 (or 5?) meetings a month.. Now granted these are daytime meetings which mightn't suit someone in private employment but it's still not that arduous.

Presumably they get invited to lots of residents meetings and all that malarky as well but that's not mandatory and a lot of these are a waste of time anyway. They probably spend a bit of time canvassing or leafletting their own locality and talking to the press but that's political stuff that anyone involved in politics should be up to anyway..

So what else do they get up to? Maybe the councillors on here could shed some light - what volume of representations do you get? What official council work do you do in addition to the above meetings?
5-7 funerals per week as well, you forgot that
:lol:
 

FrankSpeaks

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 18, 2008
Messages
4,625
loner said:
Not a lot but it is not entirely their fault.It is high time real power should be given to local authorities. Maybe John Gormley would consider setting up a commission to examine this matter and report to Govt within 2 years.
I agree the government of this country is far too centralised.
 

Jim84

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Messages
455
rockofcashel said:
5-7 funerals per week as well, you forgot that
for someone who is running in the locals, that's very cynical!
 

gonepostal

Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2007
Messages
22
i am a councillor. in fact i am the only councillor for my party in most of north munster. i work 40 hours a week at least as a councillor. i make several representations a week. remember some politicians make representations or say they do but i chase up my representations to the final conclusion which takes time. i spend most sundays doing paperwork ie representations looking up similar cases in other councils in the internet, press releases etc. i also work full time. if you take your job seriousely you will be busy if you get elected by a big party machine you can take it easy until 6 months before the next election.
 

seamasdefaoite

Active member
Joined
Aug 26, 2006
Messages
113
gonepostal said:
i am a councillor. in fact i am the only councillor for my party in most of north munster. i work 40 hours a week at least as a councillor. i make several representations a week. remember some politicians make representations or say they do but i chase up my representations to the final conclusion which takes time. i spend most sundays doing paperwork ie representations looking up similar cases in other councils in the internet, press releases etc. i also work full time. if you take your job seriousely you will be busy if you get elected by a big party machine you can take it easy until 6 months before the next election.
hence why we need to make the job of councillor a full time job
 

rockofcashel

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Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
8,035
Website
www.sinnfein.ie
gonepostal said:
i am a councillor. in fact i am the only councillor for my party in most of north munster. i work 40 hours a week at least as a councillor. i make several representations a week. remember some politicians make representations or say they do but i chase up my representations to the final conclusion which takes time. i spend most sundays doing paperwork ie representations looking up similar cases in other councils in the internet, press releases etc. i also work full time. if you take your job seriousely you will be busy if you get elected by a big party machine you can take it easy until 6 months before the next election.
'Tis hard to get a pint out of you though I bet ..

;)
 

croppyboy

Active member
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Messages
131
seamasdefaoite said:
gonepostal said:
i am a councillor. in fact i am the only councillor for my party in most of north munster. i work 40 hours a week at least as a councillor. i make several representations a week. remember some politicians make representations or say they do but i chase up my representations to the final conclusion which takes time. i spend most sundays doing paperwork ie representations looking up similar cases in other councils in the internet, press releases etc. i also work full time. if you take your job seriousely you will be busy if you get elected by a big party machine you can take it easy until 6 months before the next election.
hence why we need to make the job of councillor a full time job
so why did the green paper completely ignore this issue :x
 

atlantic

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2008
Messages
649
Object to everthing going on round them,pretend to be important,and walk in the Paddys Day parade.
 

FrankSpeaks

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Joined
Apr 18, 2008
Messages
4,625
gonepostal said:
i am a councillor. in fact i am the only councillor for my party in most of north munster. i work 40 hours a week at least as a councillor. i make several representations a week. remember some politicians make representations or say they do but i chase up my representations to the final conclusion which takes time. i spend most sundays doing paperwork ie representations looking up similar cases in other councils in the internet, press releases etc. i also work full time. if you take your job seriousely you will be busy if you get elected by a big party machine you can take it easy until 6 months before the next election.
Making representations is what's wrong with politics in this country. Its the job of council officals to deal with the public's needs and enquiries. We can find better ways of dealing with it than politicians sticking there nose in.
 

croppyboy

Active member
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Messages
131
FrankSpeaks said:
gonepostal said:
i am a councillor. in fact i am the only councillor for my party in most of north munster. i work 40 hours a week at least as a councillor. i make several representations a week. remember some politicians make representations or say they do but i chase up my representations to the final conclusion which takes time. i spend most sundays doing paperwork ie representations looking up similar cases in other councils in the internet, press releases etc. i also work full time. if you take your job seriousely you will be busy if you get elected by a big party machine you can take it easy until 6 months before the next election.
Making representations is what's wrong with politics in this country. Its the job of council officals to deal with the public's needs and enquiries. We can find better ways of dealing with it than politicians sticking there nose in.
40 hours a week does sound like a lot. That is effectively a full time job. In fact more hours than some employments. But how does this break down? How much of this is meetings and how many of them are mandatory? Do you get an unusually large number of representations? Are you extra diligent in your pursuit of same? Presume you can't just refer them to the Citizens Information Centre?! You mentioned you are the only rep of your party within a large area - does this contribute to your workload?
 
I

idij

croppyboy said:
Do you get an unusually large number of representations? Are you extra diligent in your pursuit of same?
If you want something done give it to a busy man ;)

If you have a reputation for getting things done people will give you things to do, whether they really should or not. I'd say elected representatives are in an tough position as any refusal to the wrong person can wipe out a years work building support.
 

gonepostal

Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2007
Messages
22
frank speaks you are right. representations are the problem but if councils really did what they were supposed to do insted of putting up the crash barriers whenever people try to claim their rights there genuinely wouldnt be a need for town councillors. the amount of duplication is incredible. i have spent 4 years trying to get an apology from the council for allowing a building overshadow a council estate, it took the ombudsman solicitors and the threat of a section 140 finally to get an apology. the system is mad, i would much prefer if council executives did their job for the benefit of their townspeople ( where it is reasonable to do) also the problem is politicians getting elected and playing footsie with the executive instead of taking them on! R.O.C the next time you are in the HiB theres a pint there for you
 

twowheelsgood

Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Messages
16
There's also the big ass reports that land on their desk for meetings. Council meetings aren't just friendly chats about issues, any decent councilor has to do their homework and be prepared for meetings. They can be quite time consuming.


On the issue of full time staff. No, I dont think that is good idea. To get a politician to be full time, all 800+ would have to be paid 30,000+ which is €24m per annum. We are very close minded in how we approach this: full time v. part time councilors. I would suggest staff support for council groups based on the number of votes they get. For example, if a group gets 2,500+ votes then they get one staff member, the a maximum of one per member. Such staff members would be cheaper and fewer then making all councilors fulltime. So FF in Dublin CC would get 12 staff members, one for each councilor. In Leitrim they would get two: one for every members. Independents and parties with fewer than 2,000 votes could group together. i.e. SF & the Greens on Galway City Council.
The benefit here is that you keep the citizen politician but give them adequate support in areas where they are overwhelmed. This is the normal procedure in citizen legislatures in the US.
 

garlandgreen

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2008
Messages
869
The purpose of Councillors is to maintain the pretense that there is such a thing Local Government in this country. Running around chasing up constituents problems with beauracracy doesn't count as Local Governance. If thats the kind of work you want to do then you should be applying to for the job as stand in when Joe Duffy goes on holidays. At least then someone then might remember your name.
 

croppyboy

Active member
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Messages
131
twowheelsgood said:
On the issue of full time staff. No, I dont think that is good idea. To get a politician to be full time, all 800+ would have to be paid 30,000+ which is €24m per annum. We are very close minded in how we approach this: full time v. part time councilors. I would suggest staff support for council groups based on the number of votes they get. For example, if a group gets 2,500+ votes then they get one staff member, the a maximum of one per member. Such staff members would be cheaper and fewer then making all councilors fulltime. So FF in Dublin CC would get 12 staff members, one for each councilor. In Leitrim they would get two: one for every members. Independents and parties with fewer than 2,000 votes could group together. i.e. SF & the Greens on Galway City Council. The benefit here is that you keep the citizen politician but give them adequate support in areas where they are overwhelmed. This is the normal procedure in citizen legislatures in the US.
That's not a bad idea as at the moment its down to the individual and what personal resources they have available. An independently wealthy councillor may well setup a public office, even hire a staff member - another rep in the same ward on more modest means will have nothing like that - this discrepancy is wrong..
 


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