Two-year term has merit

Shepparton News - - VIEWPOINT -

Putting in place two-year may­oral terms is ab­so­lutely an idea worth con­sid­er­ing for Greater Shep­par­ton City Coun­cil and coun­cil­lors.

The cur­rent sys­tem sees the mayor and deputy mayor roles re-elected on a year-by-year ba­sis from the nine sit­ting coun­cil­lors.

In the­ory this means the mayor could change from one year to the next.

In prac­tice, this has not been the case in Greater Shep­par­ton if re­cent his­tory is any in­di­ca­tor; the past few city may­ors up un­til last year had all served mul­ti­pleyear terms.

This in­di­cates that even if it is not a for­mally en­dorsed term, that coun­cil­lors see the ad­van­tages in en­sur­ing a mayor serves be­yond a sin­gle-year term.

While this may point to­wards no for­mal change be­ing nec­es­sary, there are also a few solid rea­sons for two-year terms to be em­braced.

For one, there is des­tined to be a learn­ing curve for new may­ors, ir­re­spec­tive of their level of ex­pe­ri­ence in lo­cal gov­ern­ment or pol­i­tics.

By switch­ing may­ors from year to year, in the­ory this could mean por­tions of time taken up by new may­ors learn­ing the ropes.

Fur­ther­more, as each Novem­ber rolls around, also looms the prospect of po­ten­tial may­ors in wait­ing crunch­ing the num­bers, and in­cum­bents wor­ry­ing about whether they can se­cure enough sup­port to re­main as mayor.

Again, re­cent his­tory hasn’t proved that may­ors change year-on-year.

But con­ver­sa­tions and ral­ly­ing sup­port lead­ing up to Novem­ber could pose a dis­trac­tion.

Fur­ther­more, with the role of lo­cal gov­ern­ment and coun­cil­lors chang­ing to one in­volv­ing more ad­vo­cacy and lob­by­ing, longer terms for may­ors can en­sure more con­ti­nu­ity in con­ver­sa­tions with Spring St, Can­berra and clearly pos­si­bly even fur­ther afield.

For­mer may­ors have in the past said it takes some time to ‘‘get your head around the role’’ in throw­ing sup­port be­hind a pro­posal for two-year min­i­mum terms to be con­sid­ered, and ar­gued that if the po­si­tion con­tin­ued to change hands ev­ery 12 months, coun­cil could ef­fec­tively un­dergo ‘‘a pe­riod of build­ing bridges again’’ each year.

While not much is wrong with the sta­tus quo in prac­tice, surely the sug­ges­tion has merit and should be con­sid­ered.

BY SWITCH­ING MAY­ORS FROM YEAR TO YEAR, IN THE­ORY THIS COULD MEAN POR­TIONS OF TIME TAKEN UP BY NEW MAY­ORS LEARN­ING THE ROPES.

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