MOST councils cop criticism from residents about lack of consultation, and Orange City Council is no exception.
But with more than 30 community committees it cannot be said the council does not at least try to consult with the community it is supposed to serve.
The committees tackle widespread portfolios ranging from sister cities to health liaison, youth services to traffic and everything in between.
There is no doubt that some do the job of acting as a conduit between the community and the council more effectively than others.
But perhaps the problem isn’t with the individual groups but the structure itself.
While some committee members have called for a more rigid system, the idea of maintaining a formalised conversation with the council through minuted meetings may be alienating for some residents who cannot or will not make a commitment to regular attendance.
It may be okay for retirees, the self-employed or those with flexible working hours, but committing to a place on one of the groups is probably impractical for younger community-minded people already juggling work and family.
This same argument means potential council candidates wait years before they run for a spot as a civic leader leaving them inevitably older and their ideas staler.
It is easy to be negative and resolve that the formalised committee system is doomed to fail but, as the council’s past experiences have shown, the more casual forum-style public events held in suburbs around Orange had an even more checkered history.
Council scrapped the community forums last year following dismal attendance records that often meant councillors and staff were meeting and greeting each other instead of hearing their constituents concerns.
For better or worse the individual events were replaced with a monthly public forum at ordinary council meetings, which rarely attract more than one speaker and sometimes none at all despite regular public criticism of almost everything the council does.
Whatever the outcome of the council’s review into the committee system, one thing is for sure, to have a say about the city it is up to the individual to proactively seek out a way to make their message reach those in charge.