Direct election for mayor back on agenda

MOVES to allow the Clarence Valley to decide how to elect its mayor are likely to come to the March council meeting.

Mayor Richie Williamson is penning a Mayoral Minute recommending a plebiscite asking if voters wanted to move to a direct election for mayor or to continue with the councillor election model.

"I'm putting together the minute and it's almost certain to come to the March meeting," he said.

"It was scheduled to be held with the by-election which elected Cr (Arthur) Lysaught last year, but as he was elected unopposed, it was decided to postpone the plebiscite.

The Mayor was uncertain when the plebiscite could be held as there are doubts about the proposed September election dates.

He said the State Government's Fit for the Future project was causing uncertainty and prospect of a Federal election around the same time could cause the local government vote to be postponed to early 2017.

"The prospect of local election and a Federal election could be an issue," the Mayor said.

"It will be a matter for the Minister for Local Government to decide if he is comfortable with two elections at roughly the same time."

The mayor said he would not be surprised if the current crop of councillors stood for election next time around. But he revealed he was having doubts about standing for a ninth term as Mayor.

"I will definitely be going around again for council," Cr Williamson said. "But I'm undecided if I will stand for mayor again.

"Eight years in the job is a mighty long time," he said. "We've got a pretty talented bunch on council to pick from.

"That said, it's still a long way out from the date, so anything could happen.

"But first and foremost I have to put my hand up to run for councillor and be re-elected."

Cr Williamson also noted the mayoral vote and council vote will not be simultaneous as it now stands, which gives him more time to make up his mind.

WHAT IS A PLEBISCITE?

A plebiscite is a non-binding direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to vote on a particular proposal.



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