NO CHANGE: Council votes to keep election of mayor in-house
CLARENCE Valley councillors have decided they will keep the election of the mayor in house.
Councillors voted 6-3 against a mayoral minute calling for a referendum to ask the electorate whether they would prefer a direct election of the mayor or to allow councillors to continue to elect the mayor annually.
Questions were asked of wording of the motion, "The Mayor of Clarence Valley Council is currently elected each year by the Councillors. Do you favour the election of the Mayor by the electors for a four year term and without changing the number of Councillors from nine, including the Mayor?"
There were worries voters would be confused by the words, "without changing the number of councillors from nine, including the mayor."
Cr Margaret McKenna moved to amend the motion by removing these words, and after extensive debate this was carried and became the motion.
During debate on the motion a number of councillors were highly critical of the popular election model.
Cr Jason Kingsley was worried electors could vote in a "space cadet" who said all the right things.
He also feared a popular vote would open the mayoral vote to abuse from people who had the money to stand.
Cr Karen Toms attacked the yes case for the popular vote, describing many of its arguments as naive.
In reply, the Mayor Cr Richie Williamson noted that to his knowledge no council with a popularly elected mayor voted to change that arrangement.
He defended the yes and no cases presented, saying they had been prepared by the Electoral Commission after extensive research.