On Tuesday I attended what was promoted as the mayoral candidates debate at Port City Bowlo, organised by the Resident Action Group.
I was one of several community members who took up the invitation to ask a question.
My concern was that as the public face of Port Macquarie-Hastings, councillors are subjected to high expectations from residents and are often held accountable by the public, even for decisions based on staff assessments and recommendations.
My question, how would you ensure that council staff alone, aren't left to make decisions on development applications?
Candidates were given the opportunity to read and compose responses to the list of questions before the event commenced.
Many of us were there to hear what the candidates had to offer but sadly, some wasted a lot of time loudly asserting their negative opinions of council and making allegations.
I was not prepared for the attacks, accusations and mudslinging. The moderator kept candidates to their time limits, but did not keep them courteous or on topic.
To their credit most stayed focused, whilst candidates Lisa Intemann and Rachel Sheppard did their best to correct and quietly question negative assertions.
This close to polling day, and with so many challenges, surely it is time to for us to hear genuine and positive ideas for the future of our local government, free of bitterness and grudges.