Deputies elected

The Southland Times - - Editorial Opinion - Michele Poole, In­ver­cargill Max Sk­er­rett, In­ver­cargill

IN the in­ter­ests of ac­cu­racy, I take this op­por­tu­nity to cor­rect one of Mayor Tim Shad­bolt’s pub­licly stated mis­con­cep­tions about my mother, Eve Poole, Mayor of In­ver­cargill 1983-1992.

Mr Shad­bolt has stated on tele­vi­sion and ra­dio that, in seek­ing to change his deputy mayor midterm, he is fol­low­ing Eve Poole’s prac­tice and that she per­son­ally ‘‘sacked’’ suc­ces­sive deputies, in­clud­ing Jim Fenton and Mark Win­ter.

The record shows that dur­ing my mother’s may­oralty, the coun­cil elected the deputy mayor at the start of each three-year term and they gen­er­ally fol­lowed the longestab­lished con­ven­tion of elect­ing the high­est-polling coun­cil­lor to that po­si­tion.

Thus Cr Jim Fenton was elected deputy mayor for the 1983-86 term and Cr Mark Win­ter, who was the top-polling coun­cil­lor, re­placed him as deputy mayor for 1986-92.

In 1989, fol­low­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­or­gan­i­sa­tion, the mem­bers of the In­ver­cargill District Coun­cil were elected in wards so there was no city-wide elec­tion and thus no high­est-polling coun­cil­lor. The coun­cil­lors elected Cr Bruce Pa­gan as deputy mayor – Bruce had pre­vi­ously been the mayor of Bluff.

In 1992 the coun­cil­lors elected Cr Dou­gal Soper as deputy mayor. MR Shad­bolt should un­der­stand that Mr Boni­face is the deputy mayor – not ‘‘my deputy’’, as he keeps on re­peat­ing. There is a dif­fer­ence. ‘‘Ev­ery term you should sack your deputy’’ was his quote on TV One.

The fact is that he can­not and never could have.

The deputy mayor is ap­pointed by the coun­cil, not by the mayor.

This is clearly spelled out in the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act. If the coun­cil de­cides it wants to re­place the deputy mayor, then it can on a ma­jor­ity vote but there are con­di­tions re­quir­ing proper no­ti­fi­ca­tion and a pe­riod of 21 days be­fore any action can be taken.

The mayor has no more au­thor­ity than any other coun­cil mem­ber in the ap­point­ment or re­moval of the deputy mayor. IN­VER­CARGILL City Coun­cil should have a new deputy, and the only choice for this job is the peo­ple’s choice Cr Dar­ren Lud­low.

In­ter­est­ingly our pre­vi­ous may­ors, be­fore our present mayor, were al­ways happy to ac­cept the city’s long-held con­ven­tion of democ­racy de­cid­ing who would be deputy.

Also in­ter­est­ing in pre­vi­ous times to the present, the deputy was not paid ex­tra to do the job. In­stead, he/she was re­warded by be­ing of­fered the chair­man­ship of a com­mit­tee of their choice.

Spe­cial pay­ment was not re­quired in the past, as may­ors we re­spected such as Eve Poole and Dave Har­ring­ton were happy to be

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