Rhoades awarded top job
COFFS HARBOUR’S mayor is now the most powerful councillor in the state.
Cr Keith Rhoades was yesterday elected president of the Local Government Association of NSW at its annual conference in Albury.
He secured the top job by 164 votes to 151 and admitted he had to work hard crunching the numbers in the lead-up to the ballot.
“It’s been pretty full-on for me. I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights in the past 10 days,” Cr Rhoades said.
“I’m honoured and I’m humbled. I’ve been 20 years in local government now and to be recognised by your peers in this very, very high position is just fantastic.
“It’s recognition of your ability to co-ordinate and lead and your negotiating skills.
“I speak with both government and opposition in NSW and we’re in for interesting times next March (the state election).”
Cr Rhoades was certain Coffs Harbour would benefit from his new role, which also gives him a seat on the board of the Australian Local Government Association.
“I commit myself to a job which is to represent the 152 councils right across NSW in conjunction with the president of the Shires Association, Cr Bruce Miller,” he said.
“Planning issues are number one at the moment – we want to see power given back to local government.”
Cr Rhoades, who has been Coffs Harbour’s mayor since 2004, will next month relinquish his chairmanship of the NSW Country Mayors’ Association after three years at the helm.
“I’m not a machine,” he said.
He was endorsed for the presidency by his Independent Network of Local Government colleagues and he pipped the Nationals’ candidate Cr Greg Matthews from Dubbo.
Cr Rhoades will hold the position for 12 months.