No matter which way the final numbers fall in the council election race, congratulations are in order for all candidates.
A total of 52 Maitland citizens put their hand up to try and make a difference in our city.
That in itself is an achievement.
Councils everywhere, including Maitland, cop their fair share of criticism from residents. Most people have at least one negative story to tell about their dealings with council.
And even without a personal experience, people love to bag out their local government ... and they have a right to. We live in a free, democratic society and we pay our rates.
But with the rise of social media, it is so easy nowadays for people to voice their opinions directly to our elected officials in a public forum. Sometimes that can get ugly, as faceless people use it as a tool to say things they otherwise wouldn’t say.
Councillors’ contact details are also listed publicly online and council meetings are open for anyone to go and watch.
So for 52 people to want to take all of that head on and put their name, face and money (yes it does cost to run for council) out there to try and gain an elected position, you have to admire their spirit.
Clearly it’s much easier to stand back and criticise rather than get up and make a change.
This week Maitland will have a new mayor, and a new make-up of its council.
Each councillor will be put to the test of hearing the community’s concerns, researching various issues and making decisions that will affect our city. Yes they are paid, but it’s no walk in the park.
And with the expected mix of parties and personalities, whether they like it or not, the councillors will have to work together to get things done.
The decisions they make won’t always be popular. In fact, some decisions will be downright hated.
And even decisions that are supported by the community won’t receive the level of feedback that bad decisions will.
But no matter what their opinions are, our councillors have all stood up for the same reason – they want to see Maitland prosper and want to guide the city through the next three years. We wish them luck and commend every single one of those 52 people who ran for office – it certainly made for one competitive campaign.