TATE: I DO NOT KNOW WHEN I’LL BE BACK
DONNA Gates is running the Gold Coast “indefinitely’’ while Mayor Tom Tate undergoes treatment for bowel cancer.
Cr Tate yesterday handed the Deputy Mayor greater responsibility, elevating her to the role of Acting Mayor.
“Donna Gates is going to be the acting mayor as of (today) until further notice,” Cr Tate told councillors at yesterday’s full council meeting.
“I don’t know how long I am going to be away.”
The handover of mayoral chains came after Cr Tate revealed on Monday he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
He will undergo surgery today to remove potentially cancerous tissue.
Last month Cr Tate underwent surgery to remove polyps from his colon, which have since been found to be cancerous.
Cr Tate was visibly emotional when he fronted the media after the meeting.
He wiped an eye vigorously before bravely turning to the cameras with a wide smile.
“What are we talking about?” he said to reporters.
Asked about his health, Cr Tate said in a broken voice: “I’m nervous.’’
Cr Tate said he wanted to “take some time” with wife Ruth following his surgery, which was why he left his return open-ended.
“Surgery is intrusive,” he said.
“My comment reflects on Donna’s capability.
“My attitude is the city is in good hands and there is no urgency. While Donna is Acting Mayor the city won’t have missed a beat.”
It has been a horror year for Cr Tate personally, with his wife Ruth suffering a heart attack at Singapore airport in July.
Cr Tate said he was unsure of the effect the cancer scare would have on his political future, with an election in 2020.
“It’s really going to be up to how Ruth is. My attitude is that we are a team. If Ruth is happy we will keep going.” he said.
“If she has had enough of that, then I’ll have had enough.”
Cr Gates was Acting Mayor last month while Cr Tate was in Malaysia for Commonwealth Games Baton Relay celebrations.
However the long-time councillor rarely steps into the mayoral robes, with Cr Tate keeping a tight hold on the office even while overseas.
Cr Tate’s overseas trade missions are also organised around full council meetings to ensure he is in the city to chair them.
Cr Tate said yesterday he was usually going at full speed but now had to slow down “a little bit”.
“How can you contain your passion for the city when you love it so much?” he said.
The Mayor would be maintaining a close watch, saying he would have his tablet with him.
Cr Gates, who appeared upset at times yesterday but was also able to enjoy a smile and some levity with other councillors, said the news came as a “huge shock”.
“The thoughts of all the councillors are obviously with him and we wish him well today and pray for the best outcome,” she said.
“(It’s) a huge shock and he was simply having a full health test at the request of his wife because of her recent health issues.”
Cr Tate will undergo surgery today to remove the next layer of cells, which will be tested for cancer. It was not clear yet whether chemotherapy or radiation treatment was needed.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.
Acting Mayor Donna Gates.