Hill to face fight for job

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY an­thony. gal­loway@ news. com. au

IT’S on.

Townsville First have all but found their woman in Jayne Ar­lett, while Mayor Jenny Hill is meet­ing with prospec­tive coun­cil­lors to run on her team in next year’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion.

Pro­vided she agrees to run for mayor, it is un­der­stood Ms Ar­lett will over­haul the team with a new name and pos­si­bly re­place some sit­ting coun­cil­lors with new can­di­dates.

The Townsville Fire chair­woman is not ready to pub­licly de­clare she is run­ning, but she is the mys­tery can­di­date Townsville First coun­cil­lors were last week re­fer­ring to when they said they had set­tled on a leader.

Up un­til last week, Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee chair and Townsville First coun­cil­lor Tony Par­sons hadn’t ruled out run­ning for mayor.

But at the same time, Townsville First was ap­proach­ing a num­ber of high­pro­file busi­ness lead­ers to also run for mayor in­clud­ing Port of Townsville chair­man Pat Brady and prop­erty agent Damien Keyes.

Mr Keyes con­firmed he was ap­proached by Townsville First ear­lier this year, but said he wasn’t ready with his busi­ness ex­pe­ri­enc­ing strong growth.

Mr Keyes said Cr Hill was a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent, but the team that could present as the most united and in­de­pen­dent from party pol­i­tics had the best chance of win­ning the elec­tion.

The Bul­letin un­der­stands re­search by Townsville First and Team Hill in re­cent months showed Cr Hill was lead­ing the may­oral race.

How­ever, it is un­der­stood Cr Hill’s team would take the prospect of a chal­lenge from Ms Ar­lett ex­tremely se­ri­ously.

Mean­while, Cr Hill has in re­cent weeks met with three in­di­vid­u­als who have ex­pressed in­ter­est in run­ning for coun­cil: for­mer Townsville En­ter­prise chief ex­ec­u­tive David Kip­pin, Townsville Ratepay­ers As­so­ci­a­tion co- founder Paul Ja­cob and Mark Mo­lachino.

Mr Ja­cob, who is con­test­ing Di­vi­sion 1, con­firmed he had dis­cus­sions with Cr Hill about run­ning on her team.

“I’m hop­ing my talks with Jenny do re­sult in me be­ing a part of her team, but that’s all up to Jenny her­self,” he said.

Mr Mo­lachino said he was likely to run in Di­vi­sion 4 as an in­de­pen­dent but didn’t rule out join­ing Cr Hill’s team.

“The last four years I have seen how in­ef­fec­tive the coun­cil is and how they’re not on the same page.

“The coun­cil needs a group of peo­ple who can work gether,” he said.

Cr Hill said she was fo­cus­ing on her job and wouldn’t be drawn on the meet­ings with the prospec­tive can­di­dates.

“I’ve been ap­proached by many peo­ple. I’m talk­ing to some peo­ple now, but my fo­cus is re­ally on the role as mayor and en­sur­ing we con­tinue our push for jobs and job cre­ation,” she said.

to-

M A Y O R

Paul Ja­cob.

J E N N Y H I L L

( R I G H T )

David Kip­pin.

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