Political tag team may go

COFFS Harbour's basketball team of deputy mayors may be a short-lived experiment.

Citing a lack of due process, Mayor Keith Rhoades is planning to rescind the motion, passed at last week's council meeting, which gave each of five councillors a term as deputy mayor.

Moved by Cr Kerry Hines and passed 5-4, the move gave Cr Denise Knight, Cr Mark Graham, Cr John Arkan, Cr Kerry Hines and Cr Rodney Degens each a 10-week period to exercise the functions of the mayor at his request if he is away or unable to attend functions.

The motion was opposed by the councillors Rhoades, Bill Palmer, Jenny Bonfield and Denise Knight.

Cr Rhoades said yesterday he had tried to tell the councillors that the process they had followed was wrong.

"You can only elect one deputy mayor, you can't have a block booking," Cr Rhoades said.

"Proper process has not been used.

"You first have to resolve that you are going to have a deputy mayor (this is optional) then nominate; then determine the means of election (ballot or open voting). "Under the (Local Government) Act, you have to elect one (person), then in 10 weeks time have another election."

The mayor said he had received advice on the matter from an external source.

"All going well, in the next 24-48 hours the council will be in a position to rescind (that motion) and it will come up at the next meeting," he said.

At last Thursday's meeting the mayor moved an amendment to split the role of deputy mayor for the next 12 months into two six-month blocs, but failed to gain majority support.

General manager Steve McGrath told the councillors on Thursday the convention for deputy mayor was for a 12-month term.

He said Section 231 of the Act allowed for a shorter term but they would need to make each person deputy mayor for a defined period and the community was looking for some certainty in filling the mayor's role.



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