Mayoral robes are ready for a rest, but plan divides leaders
COMMUNITY leaders have had mixed reactions to plans to slow down the revolving door of mayors at local councils in NSW.
Short terms can result in mayoralty robes and chains changing hands up to four times between elections.
The one-year mayoralty is divvied up between political rivals via a system of “horse trading” at the start of each local government term at most councils.
From next year, the State Government is set to introduce two-year fixed terms as a new minimum. Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler (pictured) said he would support a move to introduce a minimum of two-year terms for mayors.
“There are some perceived obstacles, but in Penrith Council, the views of all councillors are taken into account shortly after each four-year election and are merged with the council strategy and management plan,” Mr Fowler said.
“I don’t support a popularly elected mayor principally because you can have a mayor who does not have the political support of the council, such has happened in the past in other local government areas where mayors have been popularly elected.”
Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali said he could see advantages and disadvantages to the longer terms.
“The advantage is continuity of ideas and stability but there is a disadvantage, if the mayor doesn’t really reflect the community’s attitude then you’re stuck with that person for two or four years,” Cr Bali said.
The positions of mayor and deputy mayor for Blacktown will be decided at tonight’s council meeting.
The vote at Penrith Council will be later this month.