Democracy trashed

The recent review of local government areas involved a Delegate making a report to the Boundaries Commission about various aspects of merged Councils.

The Delegate addressed the issue of a popularly elected Mayor and considered that electing the Mayor from among the Councillors would provide enhanced stability for the first period of the new council.

Over a decade ago, Willoughby residents were part of a poll they voted in favour of directly-elected (popularly-elected) Mayors.Since then Willoughby has had directly-elected Mayors. The majority view has been that popularly-elected Mayors have been well received by Willoughby resident. With a stroke of the pen, the Delegate has overwritten the community view. It is believed that doing away with popularly-elected Mayors is politically motivated. In this Editor’s opinion, based on first hand experience the process of electing a Mayor by their peers is fraught with petty corruption.

In relation to the issue of Wards for the merged Councils, the Delegate found:

that Mosman currently has no ward structure with six councillors and that North Sydney and Willoughby both have four wards with three councillors in each. The Delegate stated that representation should be maximised in the first instance and recommended a ward system dividing the area into five wards, each served by three Councillors. To help ensure suitable representation levels, in drawing ward boundaries the Delegate considered that the following principles should be used as far as possible in addition to the population criterion in the Act:

 new wards should cross existing Council boundaries, and

 to the maximum extent possible, suburbs and centres should not be divided by ward boundaries

To achieve the first criteria, we could be faced with five “ribbon wards’ running from Boundary St to the Pacific Ocean.

 

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