Murray Shire Council's mayoral vote on Tuesday, which saw incumbant mayor Tom Weyrich reinstalled, was not free from controversy.By Jess Craig
Councillor Gen Campbell has fulfilled her promise to walk out of Murray Shire Council’s mayoral vote.
Despite nominating for both the mayor and deputy mayor’s positions, Cr Campbell stormed out of the meeting before the vote was held.
Mayor Tom Weyrich and Cr John Pocklington were returned in their roles.
Cr Cambell told the Riv last week that she would leave the meeting if the mayoral vote went ahead.
Her objection to the vote being held while two councillors were away from the meeting was evident almost immediately.
Citing ‘‘incorrect information’’ she and other councillors were given at the last meeting, Cr Campbell insisted that the vote be delayed, and an extraordinary meeting be held on September 30.
She noted that two councillors
In a heated exchange with Cr Weyrich, Cr Campbell said the mayoral elections could be held at any time in September and that she and other councillors had been ‘‘misled’’ by information given by Cr Betty Murphy.
‘‘We were told at the last meeting (September 3) that the vote had to be held today, when in fact it can be held at any point in September,’’ Cr Campbell said.
Cr Murphy apologised to Cr Campbell for her error during the meeting.
Cr Weyrich said since he had been on council, the elections had always been held on the third Tuesday in September.
‘‘We have two meetings in September. This goes to the commitment of the councillors who aren’t here,’’ Cr Weyrich said.
Cr Campbell said she wanted Cr Weyrich’s comment recorded and said her issue with the vote centred on the ‘‘true facts’’ not being given.
‘‘If we can had the vote at any time in September, which the NSW Local Government Act states, why don’t we have it on September 30 when all councillors will be in attendance?’’ Cr Campbell queried.
Cr Weyrich refuted Cr Campbell’s claims and said there was no reason to change the vote.
‘‘It’s held every 12 months. The mayor is elected for a 12-month term and this date coincides with the election held last year,’’ he said.
Cr Weyrich cited a meeting between two councillors and Cr Pocklington in August this year, but did not name which councillors he believed were involved.
‘‘I’d argue that councillors knew when the elections were to be held, they knew the date,’’ he said.
Cr Chris Bilkey said he believed councillors had two options
Cr Weyrich then asked if Cr Campbell wanted an extraordinary meeting.
‘‘Yes. Maybe,’’ she replied.
Cr Gavin Burke supported the motion for an extraordinary meeting and also cited the ‘‘incorrect information’’ given by Cr Murphy.
‘‘I’m disappointed we’re going to have the vote today,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m not trying to play politics, but the Act does say we can have the meeting at any time in September.’’
The extraordinary meeting motion was put to a vote and defeated.
General manager Greg Murdoch then declared voting for the mayor and deputy mayor open, with Cr Campbell leaving the room.
She returned after the votes were counted.
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