Three years, and no voice

By DARREN COYNE

THE 100th year celebration of grassroots democracy in Tweed Shire had cold water poured on it yesterday by the NSW Minister for Local Government Tony Kelly.

Despite having the power to do so, Mr Kelly was adamant that no consideration was being given to calling an early election to install new councillors following the sacking of all councillors this week.

As a result there will be no mayor to make congratulatory speeches at next year's centenary of Tweed Shire and no councillors to slap each other on the back and reflect on the shire's history and progress.

That leaves just three administrators, and of course staff, to blow up the balloons.

It's unlikely there will be much to celebrate, however, with the second report from Prof Maurice Daly expected to be released towards the end of the year.

That report will deal primarily with the processes by which certain developments had been approved during the last two terms of the council.

Mr Kelly's spokeswoman yesterday said "serious matters" already had been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, and the State Electoral Commission, for investigation from the first report, and "we simply cannot countenance any moves to undermine those enquiries".

"All elections statewide will be held on that date (September 2008). If we brought them forward for the Tweed it would be out of synch and there would be two elections in the one cycle," she said, adding that any early election would have to be funded from Tweed coffers.

The Director General of the NSW Department of Local Government, Garry Payne, one of the three administrators appointed, said only the Minister had the power to call an early election.

Mr Payne said the three administrators ? himself, former mayor Max Boyd and former Sydney Lord Mayor Lucy Turnball ? would stay in place until the next ordinary election.

"There's a job to be done and we will do the job. It (an election) is really a matter for the Minister and all I can say is that the date is consistent with other sacked councils such as Warringah and Liverpool," he said.

Former mayor Max Boyd, who many would expect to play the role of defacto mayor given his 41 years as a local councillor, yesterday ruled out such a proposition.

"Nobody will carry out mayoral functions. I won't, in any shape or form, be trying to carry out those functions," Mr Boyd said.

"I used to attend 600 or 700 functions a year as mayor but at 71 I just physically couldn't do that any more. An administrator's role is not the same as the mayor."



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