Tomorrow after 14 years, the citizens of Vizag’s municipal corporation area will vote for a person to represent each of our wards in the city Corporation. There will be our 98 “corporators” one for each ward. Two of these corporators will become the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor. They, with their support staff, will work from the GVMC office.
This is how the process of citizens’ representation in the affairs of the city were envisaged. Each portion of the city, a “ward”, will have an elected representative who will look after the interests of the ward in the GVMC area
Most of the corporators are new to their work. They are a product of their own environment. Their knowledge, their vision and their communication will be shaped by their own mentors. If they have been brought up in an enlightened, liberal and scientific background they will be an asset to the city.
Environment, Heritage and Vision of the future
Despite representing just a ward, the corporator must have a crystal clear understanding of city planning, human development, a healthy respect for the natural environment and the heritage of the city they live in.
Corporators must be patient listeners. Members of their wards could be repetitious and loud, but the corporator must be adept at summarising the issues logically. Most importantly they must be proficient in stating their views in the assembly and to the GVMC in a succinctly clear manner. Every corporator must write clearly and briefly and keep a record of Ward’s issues on file. They should use technology to store and retrieve information quickly.
Humble but firm
What we need from our Corporator is not only humbleness but a firm decisive trait. Politeness and resolve is important.
Customer is the King
In this case, the citizens of the ward is king (or queen to be gender correct). Let not the citizens nor the Corporator forget that after being voted.
Less Meeting – More action
Meetings can be addictive. They must be kept at a minimum and should be brief. The love affair with the microphone must be terminated. Half the work can be done at stand-up meetings in minutes. The corporator must be visible in the ward.
No Bombastic statements. Always the truth
Corporators must not fall into the trap of making bragging statements to the press and electronic media a bout what they will do in the future. No empty promises. Just do and then announce. But before suggesting large projects talk to the stakeholders.
Most office bearers becomes impossible to reach once ensconced in their positions. This won’t do. The position calls for accessibility. Never be unavailable. The citizens must also not be too bothersome and only contact when necessary and keep the communications short, crisp and to the point.
Often we see elected officials bullying and being rude to executive staff. This is not viewed generously by the public. Politeness towards GVMC staff is paramount. They are doing a tough job and need support. You must be more of a mentor than a boss.
GVMC has the unenviable task of preparing a new assembly hall to accommodate more than a hundred corporators and support staff. Imagine the type of infrastructure they will need. Remember that you will need enough toilets and don’t forget that men’s urinals should never be more than 60cm in height.
PARKING in the GVMC office is very difficult already. Where will these Corporators park? Next month onwards this will be the most chaotic area in Vizag. Corporators must come to GVMC only in Ola or Uber or send their private cars back after being driven here.
Challenges and Opportunities
This is an important time. Never before has the civic body asked to deal with such huge challenges. With a good understanding of city planning and management concepts, the Corporators can help Vizag to become a shining example. Each new corporator must take some time to understand how great cities are formed and run.
Some understanding of the “invisible city engineering” that goes unnoticed is necessary. They must think outside the box and beyond narrow party politics. Humanity, the City and its citizens come first. The future generations are waiting to inherit the city as well.
(The author of this article is Mr. Sohan Hatangadi 69, is a retired corporate professional, with a passion for environmental protection and heritage conservation. He is also a freelance writer and an activist on social media)