Playing second fiddle

DEPUTY Mayor Denise Knight has become the meat in the sandwich in a dispute over her council position.

Cr Knight has been Coffs Harbour City Council's deputy mayor for the past year and was first on the list of five deputies who were to take up the role in succession for the final year of the current council and remains in the role.

At last week's council meeting, Cr Knight offered to withdraw her nomination to allow four other councillors to each spend three months in the role but her offer was not accepted.

The deputy mayor's job is expected to go back into the melting pot when the mayor moves to rescind Cr Kerry Hines' motion at the last council meeting to have five councillors carry out the role in turn.

The mayor says the due process for an election or appointment was not followed at the September 22 meeting.

"I must say I am against the whole idea of sharing the role," Cr Knight said. "It puts the deputy mayor's position into a disrespectful one, no matter who takes it."

She has endured remarks about drawing names out of a hat at a recent event.

Cr Knight, who attended four functions last weekend, said standing in for the mayor - who is often called away as the president of the Local Government Association and is also the Sawtell Fire Station commander - "has been hard but I have loved very minute of it".

Cr Knight, who works part time, also took a swipe at the work rate of some of her fellow councillors.

Asked if she thought some other councillors felt "invisible", Cr Knight said when invitations came to the council the mayor's personal assistant sent out invitations to all councillors who could accept or refuse, although there could be occasions when people had specifically requested the deputy mayor to attend.

"A lot (of invitations) are for all councillors to attend and a lot of councillors are on committee and don't turn up to committees either," she said.

Cr Kerry Hines said she did not need a title and the intention of her motion to share the work- load had been to give councillors, especially those who worked full time or had their own business, the opportunity to gain some experience in the role.

She said all councillors did not receive invitations to all events.

Cr Knight said: "Kerry Hines is entitled to put forward her motion but I am entitled not to agree to it."



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