Lord Mayoral wannabe Catherine “No Go” Ng is struggling to cope with the barrage of community concern over her dismal attendance record as a councillor for the past seven years.
“No Go” claimed yesterday that her attendance record “exceeded 50%”, hardly the proudest boast of a diligent public official. Council insiders point to Ng’s $700 per week council allowance and the fact that council meetings – in aggregate – very rarely exceed seven hours a week.
Analysis obtained by VEXNEWS indicates that Ng attended just 50% of the Business and International Relations Committee meetings from 2004 to 2008, 52.5% of the meetings of the Community and Culture Committee in the same time frame (despite promising to “care for communities in her campaign propaganda”. She failed to attend a majority of Marketing and Events Committee meetings with an attendance record there of 43%. She missed 50% of the meetings of the Docklands and Major Projects Committees. So her own estimate is about right, and it’s quite wrong she hasn’t been formally reprimanded by the council for her failure to perform.
Compared with her work at a TAFE, with the council ratepayers paying her about $100 an hour, elected service has turned out to be far more profitable – in hourly terms – than being a public servant in the TAFE system. She gets paid $100 an hour and even then only shows up about half the time. Nice non-work if you can get it.
Catherine Ng is crying foul over being held to account by the Herald Sun and moderate Labor candidate Peter McMullin (running in coalition with Liberal Tim Wilson) for her woeful attendance record.
Campaign insiders say she “went feral” when she first saw the striking leaflet, phone-stalking and demon-dialling many people in cries of anguished protest.
“John So was never treated like this. Why me?” apparently whined Melbourne’s reputedly most obnoxious, indolent and charmless councillor.
She told the revitalised Herald Sun that “”We should talk policies and debate, rather than getting personal.”
But it’s not personal. It’s about her record as a public official.
It’s about her willingness to honour an obligation owed to all ratepayers and to give them value for money.
Her ability to govern as a diligent and accountable public official.
Crusading for greater accountability in public affairs, Peter McMullin was having none of Ng’s false claims of dirty tricks about her dirty record.
Cr McMullin said the brochure was simply the truth.
“It’s been reported in newspapers. People want to know they will have a full-time mayor.”
Tellingly, he compared his own attendance record as a councillor – around 98% – with Ng’s own admission yesterday that hers “exceeded 50%”.
And this from a person whose own campaign material ungraciously describes herself as a “high achiever”.
Most importantly of all it makes claims that she has a “strong track record” as a councillor and Chair of Planning. Her track record includes a level of meeting attendance that she says “exceeds 50%”.
That’s a disgrace and McMullin is right to call her on it.
The terrible thing is that she was allowed to coast on the council for seven years without being held to account by her colleagues for her disgraceful conduct.
Malcolm Forbes once wrote that “Failure is success if we learn from it.” Surely the lesson for the people of Melbourne is that it must hold its public officials accountable for their diligence and performance.