Mike Yardley writes:
He’s the bolter, the bloodhound, the big-hitter. And he is fast stapling his presence on to the city’s consciousness.
Cr Raf Manji, the most impressive newcomer to council, wasn’t elected to office with a pasteurised set of opinions from party central or enslaved to a rigid ideology.
He is an independently minded raging pragmatist, spearheading the drive for better performance and fiscal restraint. The hear-no-evil, see-no-evil culture of conceited mediocrity is what sunk the previous council regime. Its prime adversary was the fearless first-term tiger, Cr Tim Carter.
Manji appears to have picked up the baton from Carter, bringing the same financial rigour and razor-sharp scrutiny to the table.
Take the past fortnight, for example. Manji has publicly grilled council staff for failing to adopt any measures against feckless freedom campers.
The council has had the power to regulate freedom camping for two years. Two years, amigos! Manji has blasted their “dithering” as “just ridiculous”.
I’ve heard several people say very good things about Cr Manji. As Yardley says he’s an independent focused on improving performance and holding the management to account. Dalziel is doing fine so far, but if things don’t improve over the next two years, I won’t be surprised to see Manji standing for Mayor.