Hill to face fight for job
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.
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