Voting block in council
At yesterday's meeting (30/10/19) Cr Nadin tabled a motion to give the public a chance to decide if we would like to be able to choose the mayor in a popular vote by way of referendum attached to next year's Local Government elections.
It was voted down. The same question was brought up in April earlier this year and the same five voted it down - Cr McBain, Cr Tapscott, Cr Griff, Cr Dodds and Cr Sekold. Apparently they don't think the public are able to choose wisely.
The local government here in the Valley really needs to wake up to what the locals want! At time of writing this the poll done by the BDN at 564 votes is 85 per cent voting that they want to be able to vote for the mayoral offices.
In the same meeting the Bega Valley Shire Ratepayers Association was targeted in a motion by Cr Fitzpatrick. This motion is to implement the request of "historical financial data be refused until council staff are in a position to reply". The BVSRRA has requested documents such as "councillors expenses". Only one councillor voted against this, this was Cr Nadin.
So in one meeting a group is being punished for holding the council visually accountable and the public was denied the option to say if they want to choose its mayor or not. All this because of a voting block created by the current way leadership is decided.
Joshua Shoobridge, Kalaru
Just common sense
I was more than pleased to read today's article on a popularly elected mayor. It is something I believe strongly. I advocated that for 42 years to my previous council. In a true democracy everyone gets a vote and the majority rule.
In relation to Bega Valley Shire Council that is half true. We all get to vote for our nine councillors. However when it gets to the mayoral and deputy mayoral positions nine people decide what is best for 33,253 of us (the estimated population of Bega Shire as at the 2016 census).
Problem with the nine councillors voting for who should be the boss is most of them are politically affiliated to one party or the other so it's not hard to work out who each will vote for.
In my experience many councillors on many councils have an aspiration for higher office, either in state or federal politics. Problem with this are they are many times influenced by their political party rather than their actual residents, particularly on major issues. The mayor and deputy mayor need to be elected by the majority of residents not by each other.
The matter of the cost of voting for a popularly elected mayor has been raised as always. However it is simple to make it part of the voting process for all councillors by adding a box, your preferred mayor or deputy mayor for the full period till the next council election. Then you wouldn't get all this chopping and changing so they can all improve their CVs.
Frank Pearce, Bega
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