Va­cant seat to stay empty un­til next elec­tion

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By ADEN MILES

South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil will not fill the va­cant seat left as a re­sult of for­mer coun­cil­lor Bar­rie Her­lihy’s death.

Dur­ing last week’s coun­cil meet­ing coun­cil­lors de­bated how to han­dle the va­cancy with Mayor Neil Sin­clair say­ing the coun­cil has the right to ap­point some­one or to ‘‘run with­out’’.

Mr Sin­clair also said a by­elec­tion was not an op­tion.

‘‘The con­cept of a by-elec­tion is not part of the pro­ce­dure be­cause we’re within 12 months of the next elec­tion.’’

He said there were two op­tions, to leave it va­cant or ap­point some­one to help with the work load.

‘‘I be­lieve it would be dif­fi­cult for a new coun­cil­lor to come on board and be fully aware of the work that you have al­ready done and coun­cil­lor Her­lihy did. Some­body prob­a­bly wouldn’t come on un­til Fe­bru­ary.’’

The rec­om­men­da­tion to leave the seat empty was moved by Mr Sin­clair and sec­onded by coun­cil­lor Her­man van Rooi­jen.

But coun­cil­lor Jenny Shat­tock raised the is­sue of Toko­roa be­ing un­der-rep­re­sented.

Mr Sin­clair said: ‘‘I take that on board Cr Shat­tock and my chal­lenge to Toko­roa coun­cil­lors is please work a lit­tle harder to make up for the loss of coun­cil­lor Her­lihy.’’

Cr Brenda Watkins agreed with the de­ci­sion to leave the seat va­cant.

‘‘I just want to say that I am go­ing to miss hav­ing some­one be­side me. Like all of us, we’re ex­tremely sad that we’ve got to come to this de­ci­sion but at the same time I can­not imag­ine that any­body com­ing in would be able to pick up the things that we have been do­ing over the last cou­ple of years which has been ex­tremely in­ten­sive.’’

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