Adelaide Plains Council (APC) comprises of two (2) parts:
- Council Members (Mayor and Councillors); and
- Administration (Chief Executive Officer and other Council Staff).
APC is a corporate body and can only make decisions by resolution of its Council Members. This means that a motion must be put to a properly convened meeting and can only be passed by a majority vote of members. There is often a misconception in the community that Council Staff make decisions, but in reality, Council Staff simply make recommendations to the Council Members and implement Council Members’ decisions.
The Mayor is the figurehead of the Council.
The Mayor actively promotes and develops opportunities for the community. This often involves developing and maintaining networks and performing an important social and ceremonial role as the leader of the community.
The Mayor takes the chair at all meetings of the Council at which he or she is present. The Mayor does not vote on motions at a meeting, however when the vote is tied the Mayor has a casting vote.
The Mayor also:
- Provides guidance to Councillors about what is expected of them;
- Acts as the principal council spokesperson and articulates council policies and positions fairly and accurately;
- Supports good working relationships between Councillors; and
- Represents the council in civic and ceremonial duties.
Council Members are elected by residents and ratepayers of APC. Members are elected for a four (4) year term and the next election is in November 2022.
The role of Council Members is set out in the Local Government Act 1999. There are several key elements to the role of a Council Member:
- Participating in high level decision making;
- Setting the strategic direction of the council; and
- Representing the local community.
Council Members set the overall direction of the Council through long term planning and decision making. Council adopts a strategic view of the future it wishes to achieve for its community and makes plans to achieve this. Council Members have no authority as individuals to act or make decisions for, or on behalf, of the Council. Instead, Council Members make decisions and act only through a decision of Council as a whole. These decisions are made at properly convened meetings as mentioned above.
Decisions of Council
Decisions of Council are made through various Council meetings and Committee meetings, or sometimes by the Chief Executive Officer through delegated authority, primarily pursuant to section 44 of the Local Government Act. The Council’s principal power to make decisions is delegated through the Local Government Act. A number of other Commonwealth and State Acts also provide Council with the power to make decisions.
The Council Members are the policy arm of the Council and are responsible for setting the strategic direction, goals and objectives supported by documented policy for the well being of the community as a whole.
Council Members have a legislative requirement and responsibility to:
- Determine policies to be applied by the Council in exercising its discretionary powers;
- Determine the type, range and scope of projects to be undertaken by the Council; and
- Develop comprehensive management plans, budgets, financial controls and performance objectives and indicators for the operations of Council.
Council Meetings, Agendas and Minutes
Council Members must attend meetings in order to take part in Council’s decision making process. There are two types of council meetings – ordinary meetings and special meetings.
Currently, Ordinary Meetings of APC are held on the fourth Monday of each month (except December), commencing at 6:00pm. Special meetings are called as required in accordance with the Local Government Act. All Council meetings are held in the Council Chamber, Redbanks Road, Mallala and members of the public are welcome to attend. Ordinary Meetings provide a public setting where items before the Council are debated prior to a decision/resolution. The establishment of policy and procedure is also debated at these formal meetings of Council.
Items for debate or consideration are included in the Council meeting agenda. Council staff and Council Members can request that an item be placed on the agenda for consideration. At the Council Meeting, Council Members consider reports from Council staff, and the Councillors may vote for or against each agenda item. With the exception of the Mayor (who chairs the meeting) all members present at a council meeting must vote on every motion put to the meeting. The Mayor has a casting vote only if the voting is tied.
These decisions (resolutions) provide the direction and authority for Council’s ongoing operations, by giving direction to the Chief Executive Officer and are implemented by Council staff.
Decisions are recorded in the form of resolutions, taking effect immediately. The minutes of each council meeting are made available for public inspection (excluding any confidential items that were considered) on the APC website and at the Mallala Principal Office within five (5) days of the meeting.
The following flow chart typifies the interactions between community, Council, Council Members and staff in a local government setting.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
The CEO is the only staff member who is appointed by, and answers to, the Council.
The CEO is responsible for:
- Managing the organizational structure of the council;
- Ensuring that council decisions are implemented;
- The day to day management of council’s operations;
- Appointing, managing and dismissing Council employees;
- Providing advice to council;
- Ensuring that Council acts within the law;
- Supporting the Mayor in the performance of his or her role; and
- Development, implementation and enforcement of policies and protocols to manage interactions between Councillors and council staff.
Council Staff are the resources that ensure the day to day running of the organisation and the delivery of council services and functions.
Council Staff are responsible for providing advice, implementing Council’s direction and taking action on Council decisions. Council Staff also provide advice and expertise that help a council to form policy decisions along with delivering services and implementing decisions.
Council Staff answer to the Chief Executive Officer.