Mayor Jim Simmons  at the Grafton Council Chambers.
Mayor Jim Simmons at the Grafton Council Chambers. Caitlan Charles

COUNCIL: Would you like to vote for mayor?

A NOTICE of motion before a Clarence Valley Council committee this week will consider whether voters will be given the chance to directly vote for mayor.

The notice, presented by councillor Arthur Lysaught asks to consider a constitutional referendum to change the method of how the Mayor attains office.

Currently, the mayor is elected by councillors every two years, and to change the method requires the approval of electors at a constitutional reference.

The question Cr Lysaught proposes for the referendum is: "The Mayor of Clarence Valley Council is currently elected every two years 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?”

The referendum, would be held in line with the 2020 council elections, and if approved it would come into effect for the electoral term commencing September 2024.

Currently, several councils on the North Coast elect their mayor by popular vote including Richmond Valley, Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Coffs Harbour and Lismore councils.

The notice of motion said that it is not the intent to increase the number of councillors from the current nine, and that cases both for and against the proposed changes be adopted for the information of voters.

A report "Cases for and Against Proposed Constitutional Referendum - Changing the Method for Voting for the Mayor” was put to Council on December 9, 2014 and only changes with regard to councillors having the option of assessing the mayor's performance are recommended to change from the 2014 resolution.

The motion states that the decision to conduct a constitutional referendum does not require prior public consultation.

"However, to promote an informed outcome, it is recommended that the Council publish the balanced material that outlines the arguments for and against the question being taken to the constitutional referendum described in the early report, if council resolves to take the question to a constitutional referendum,” it states.

The item will appear before the Corporate, Governance and Works committee for recommendation to the full council meeting.



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