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Murray Shire Mayor not going anywhere

Murray Shire Mayor Tom Weyrich has no plans to stand down from the top job.

TYLA HARRINGTON February 28, 2014 4:35am

Mayor Tom Weyrich in Deniliquin yesterday.


Murray Shire Mayor Tom Weyrich says he will not stand down from the top job.

Responding to Tuesday’s Pastoral Times opinion which called on the mayor to abdicate in the best interests of the shire, Cr Weyrich says he has no plans to stand down and confirmed he will re-stand for the position at the annual mayoral election later in the year.

He also declared his intention to run as an independent candidate in the NSW state election next year and accused ‘‘several unnamed councillors’’ of wanting to move the Murray Shire headquarters from Mathoura to Moama.

Cr Weyrich also labelled Cr Gen Campbell’s no confidence motion, which was moved against the mayor and defeated 5-4 at the most recent council meeting, as ‘‘simply a publicity stunt’’.

Councillors Campbell, Geoff Mackenzie, Ian Moon and Gavin Burke voted for the motion to be upheld, while Cr Weyrich, Deputy Mayor John Pocklington and councillors Chris Bilkey, Bill Anderson and Betty Murphy were against.

The make-up of the ‘no confidence’ vote is seemingly indicative of the widely-publicised division in council ranks.

‘‘Some councillors are trying to make a wedge between Moama and the rest of Murray Shire,’’ said Cr Weyrich, who lives in Mathoura and owns a mechanic business in Moama.

‘‘They (those who supported the motion) were told by the acting general manager (Phil Higgins) that it would have no bearing on my position,’’ Cr Weyrich said.

‘‘They knew I couldn’t be forced to step down and yet they did it anyway. It’s a publicity stunt ... that’s all it was.

‘‘It was a move to make me look bad because there are factions in council that have another agenda.’’

Cr Weyrich said he recognises there is a division in his council but said there was little that could be done to remedy it.

‘‘There’s always going to be argy-bargy with democracy ... it’s just how it is and I welcome it,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t wish to change Murray Shire’s formula because it’s working. Why would I want to change it? We have great staff, great infrastructure and we’re in a sound financial position.

‘‘The division of 5-4 was the same (vote numbers) as when I was re-elected as mayor last year.

‘‘Outside of regular council meetings I don’t meet with councillors but I’m aware there are some councillors that have regular meetings (outside of council).’’

Cr Weyrich addressed what he claimed were ‘‘suggestions made by the Pastoral Times’’ that councillors Brian Sharp and Sue Mulcahy and general manager Greg Murdoch had left council because of him.

‘‘It’s fallacy. They left for other reasons and you can ask any of them that.’’

The mayor also addressed claims of him having an uncompromising ‘his way or the highway’ attitude.

‘‘I understand at times that, yes, I can be controversial and opinionated, but that’s just who I am.

‘‘I believe my leadership is fine and that I’m the most accessible mayor there’s been.

‘‘I work hard for Murray Shire and I don’t want to change our work because it doesn’t need changing.

‘‘I’m trying my hardest to make my shire a better place and I’m not going to let a small faction of council bring me down.

‘‘The easiest thing would be to stand down but I won’t because it’s not in my make-up.

‘‘I believe I’m doing a good job and I have people regularly tell me that I am.’’

Cr Weyrich, who was elected to council in 1999, said he had ‘‘given my all’’ to the role of mayor but admitted he ‘‘sometimes’’ struggles with balancing his civic duties with work and home life.

‘‘I’m operating at 120 per cent and it’s costing me and my business money to be the mayor. But I don’t care, I’m passionate about it and I love it.

‘‘I can’t give any more. I still work for a living and struggle to pay my rates like everyone else but I’m passionate about the shire. I think it’s a great place to live and I want to be mayor.

‘‘I’m supported by the majority of councillors and the shire is going gang-busters. We have a million dollar water expansion in Moama as well as five new subdivisions and our core business is terrific.’’

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