My day

It was a key idea that I took from the E-Democracy and Local Government Symposium I went to in Budapest in July: to tell constituents through the internet and Councillor's blogs, what a day is like.

First some background that may bore some of you. Councillors are not paid a wage. We are paid an allowance which recognises costs to us in performing our duties and some lost earnings as a result of missing work (particularly in the case of Chairs of committees and the Leader and Vice Leader of the Council). I know that I, and the vast majority of Councillors I have met, do not do it for this money. In fact allowances was something I consciously decided not to find out about before the election.

I don't expect praise for doing a public service either -- those of us who do, do for their own reasons but all for the community.

Also at the Symposium one of the speakers was Deb Markowitz, the President of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) in the US. She was fascinating generally, but the reason for mentioning her now is that she said something about her own state of Vermont. There are 100,000 people (from memory) in Vermont who do jobs that, in the UK, are paid for by tax payers. But these 100,000 people do these jobs as public services. We should look to Vermont as an example of public spirited, public service. A voluntary fire department? Excellent...

Anyway, I digress (quite a lot, sorry). This post is about my day:

I awoke this morning to go to work as normal but was called by my sister just before I was due to leave. She had tooth trouble so I drove my niece to her nursery and my sister to the dentist (that's not strictly true, but you get the idea). I then went to work and worked until later than I had planned (because of the morning detour) until just gone 5pm. I rushed home to dinner and ate in my suit so that I was ready for the Housing and Central Services meeting this evening. I left having gobbled and went straight to the meeting which finished about 35 minutes ago.

I then thought about my day and decided to write this. As I get to this sentence I realise that there were two questions I had to ask Officers of the Council that I did not have an opportunity to ask during the day which will now need to be answered tomorrow.

So having started out at 8am this morning I finished running around at 9.30pm. This isn't necessarily typical -- I do get to have a social life and relax too, but it does compare nicely with the alternative:

7.30am wake up; 8.30pm start work; 4pm finish work; relax.

Now I must write an apologetic email to those two constiuents who I have let down by not speaking to an Officer today. Its not my place to decide this, but those two things can wait until tomorrow!

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