Clean up councilsMost local councils significantly raised the salaries of council members for next year. Many residents suffer from economic difficulties and most local governments depend heavily on central government subsidies.
Still, local council members, who should serve for the good of residents, are more interested in securing their own benefits. Residents, civic groups and even public employees were outraged. Some are calling for local councils to be abolished. That is a natural response.
Local council members were initially unpaid positions and started receiving paychecks in July of last year to help them focus fully on their duties. Despite criticism, people allowed the transition for the development of local autonomy. But we cannot allow them to shamelessly seek their own financial goals.
Council members argue that the salary increase is to improve their expertise. But we can prove the claim a simple lie by looking at what they have accomplished over the past year. Last year, a local council member submitted on average less than one ordinance. Some local councils did not pass a single new bylaw because they did not have the capability or the passion.
Residents should be blamed as well. Local councils are the foundation of grass-roots democracy. For the council to work well, residents should thoroughly review the candidates for council membership, vote for the right people and carefully watch them afterward. Because constituencies did not do their job well, this kind of incident happened.
Local governments were established to have residents select their own representatives to work for local development. But because political parties recommend candidates for local governments, local elections are influenced by national politics.
Candidates win elections based on the popularity of their political parties instead of their individual merits. In some regions, candidates of certain political parties win all the seats for council members. That is why council members cooperate for their best interest while ignoring residents. We should hurriedly block political parties from influencing local elections. Residents should let council members know of voter power through a recall system. Then this kind of incident will never happen again.
Experts in public administration say that it would be more efficient to unite current local councils into a bigger, united local council. It is better to not have a local council if it exists only for the sake of its members.