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The final stage of the decision making process is what occurs after the actual decision is made. There are two key elements to this stage. The first is working out how the administration will provide reports to council on the implementation of the decision. The second is telling constituents about the decision.
One aspect of the general manager’s role is to ensure that council decisions are implemented in an effective and timely fashion.
Part of this phase is to establish a process for regularly reporting to council on how the implementation is progressing. This not only allows the administration to demonstrate its accountability to the council, but also provides the council with the information it needs to meet its accountability to its community.
A unique feature of local government is that all decisions are taken in the name of the whole council. Elected members are bound by the council decision, regardless of whether they were in favour of it or not.
Elected members are accountable to their constituents who may have voted for them on the basis of a pledge to achieve a particular outcome. When a council decision contradicts a promise made by a councillor during an election, the councillor may feel the need to indicate that he/she did not agree with the decision.
Talking publicly about your dissent to a particular decision may undermine the council decision and may ultimately damage community confidence in the council as a whole. All votes are recorded by council, including your dissenting vote to a particular decision. This is the mechanism for retaining accountability to the community.
Elected members have the opportunity to express their views in the lead-up to a decision and during debate. However, if the final decision of the council conflicts with the private view of the elected member, he/she should refrain from expressing a view that is contrary to the formal position of the council. Expressing a view that opposes the agreed position of the council can lead to confusion and can lead the community to believe that the council is divided.