OPINION: No one likes a bully.
There's a reason The Simpson's Nelson Muntz has no friends, why it's satisfying to watch Sid from Toy Story get beaten up by toys and why George Lucas keeps using Nazis as bad guys. It's satisfying to watch them get beaten and seeing them get their just desserts.
It seems a lot less satisfying to see in real life when the bullies of the world don't just get just desserts and they get to pick whatever dessert they want from the dessert cart .
And the first official Hamilton City Council meeting was a day riddled with bullies getting custard.
It started off that way when it was revealed council boss Barry Harris, a man who reminds me of a slightly post-Bond era Roger Moore, had obtained private letters from someone who blew the whistle on the Council's Corporate Bullying culture - someone who seemed to now be the target of such bullying - like that kid who points out in class that the teacher forgot to give you a test they mentioned.
Now Barry looks like a bully, bullying someone who's trying to stop bullies.
And behind him is Mayor Julie Hardaker, not openly condoning or condemning anyone, staying out of the process totally.
Yet she used the first council meeting to remind everyone that she has Barry's back, and they work well together and no one should forget how helpful he is.
I assume he changes light bulbs in the office when they blow or puts the city cat out at night, that sort of stuff.
Hardaker went and gave councilor Garry Mallet the chequebook to the city by making him Deputy Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee (under accountant Rob Pascoe) and Chair of the new Council Controlled Organisation Sub-Committee.
I imagine he'll have to work closely with Margaret Forsyth, whose new Sub-Committee chairmanship is all about finding new ways to partner with outside organisations for potential funding relationships, and even Julie herself who is now in charge of Business and Investment.
Potentially this would streamline the process for someone wanting to help the city out by say, for example, installing water meters. They can talk to Julie about investment, talk to Margaret about a mutually beneficial partnership then talk to Garry about how to work with the city.
On top of that, Hardaker protégé Angela O'Leary was made chair of the Strategy and Planning Committee, Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman was put in charge of Events, former policeman Leo Tooman was put in charge of Civil Defense and Martin Gallagher was given a new Community Forum focused sub-committee.
It's a structure built like a Sara Lee cheesecake - layers upon layers, upon layers. It's hardly sleek and streamlined, which generally means less accountability for the elected wing of Council, more blaming that other Committee and some redefinitions of how Council works with the public.
And despite an obvious link between the right wing leanings of many of the new chairs, I have no doubt many will excel at their new roles. Martin being more community-minded than pretty much anyone else alive, Gordon with his PR/Marketing background and Leo has some pretty obvious credentials in the field of helping in crisis times.
What's a little more telling is the way Ewan Wilson and Dave Macpherson, two of the most senior elected members, don't get a portfolio to play with.
In saying that, neither did I so I instead went and bought myself a notebook, had my own coffee group Centreplace and pondered things like why ATMs in the CBD are becoming a rarity.
While the show was mostly just some formal posturing, setting up the new Council in a formal way, it was already showing signs of where the stress cracks will show up.
There were quips from Cr Mallet about how he needs to make sure his remuneration is over the living wage, hushed worries that the super secret reshuffle had been leaked to press (with the line "I swear to god if he's done it again he'll know what fury is"), former-elected members disappointed in what they consider disrespectful staff "who don't even call you Sir in the lift".
One thing is certain though. Whoever was passing on letters about bullies to bullies is probably expecting the bash after school any day now.
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