I don?t want to be mayor, says Flanagan

By EMMA CORNFORD

CLARENCE Valley Councillor-elect Terry Flanagan will not run for mayor.

Rumours circulating before Saturday's vote had the Kungala resident as a definite to run for the council's top position, but after being elected with 2684 primary votes, he yesterday confirmed he had no intention of putting his name forward.

"I've never had any inclination to run for mayor (because) I'm very happy in my present job and it brings me an enormous amount of satisfaction," Mr Flanagan said.

"But I do want to make a contribution to the Valley and that's the reason I ran. I think I have some of the skills and contacts to help the Valley forward."

Mr Flanagan was incommunicado on the weekend after his mobile phone was stolen, and he enjoyed a low-key celebration on his election result ? a few drinks with friends and seeing the new movie The Motorcycle Diaries.

"I feel very gratified by the re- sult," he said.

The new councillor-elect said he would concentrate on youth issues and unemployment in the Valley ? the two issues he was most passionate about.

"I think a lot of society's problems are created by a lack of employment (and) I know council can't solve all of the problems but we're a part of a three-tier system which can help do something."

Mr Flanagan said he did not want to speculate about who would join he and Chris Gulaptis ? who scored the top number of primary votes ? on the new council, saying only that preferences were likely to be 'all over the place'.

"Certainly I'd think the first four or five on the list could be confident with a place but after that you just don't know," he said.

"It's very obvious to me that the upper river ... approached amalgamation with a much better spirit ... but whatever the vote, now is the time to go forward and embrace the Valley and I think the proof will be in the pudding."

Mr Flanagan's acknowledgement of the split between upper and down river also seems to have been reflected in voting trends.

Councillor-elect Gulaptis received around two thirds of his primary votes downriver, while Mr Flanagan received 62 per cent of his primary vote around Grafton.

And while there will be no concrete evidence of parochial voting with distribution of preferences, primary vote numbers indicated votes for locals was at the forefront of many residents' minds.

The number of primary votes given to local candidates was particularly evident in Yamba, Yamba West, Maclean and Iluka.

Around Grafton there was a similar trend, but voters seemed to give more of a spread of local and downriver candidates their first preference.



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