Behind closed doors

It has become so rare for Mount Alexander Shire councillors to articulate their views publicly that I welcome Cr Nieman's contribution despite the inclusion of much personal invective directed against someone (me) who dared to suggest a solution to the animal welfare crisis facing our shire ('Clear, simple, and wrong', Opinions, August 8).

It is true that I did not have all the facts when I wrote to the Express. That is because, as Cr Nieman confirmed "steps are being taken silently". Our council's secretive decision-making processes introduced under the rule of former CEO Rowlands are legendary.

As for "hostile emails" sent to Castlemaine Ward councillors which were not even acknowledged, clearly these councillors were even too secretive to show them to him.

In more than 40 years of community activism all correspondence sent to the political class has always been respectful if not a little direct.

My "imperious" suggestion is simple. To ensure that animal welfare in this shire is foremost in any new contract it is vital that the provider have a base in the shire. No amount of use of social media to rescue and hold strays is a substitute for a properly run local facility - which we currently have. When I initiated establishment of a local facility in the City of Williamstown some 35 years ago, the return rate of dogs to owners instantly soared to more than 90 per cent.

As for not understanding the opaque decision-making processes of this council, I suspect the knowledge gained during my time as a councillor and mayor and since may just about match that gained by Cr Nieman since his election last year. What I don't know is what goes on behind closed doors where most of the real decisions are made in this shire.

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