WHICH one will lead us? Tweed councillors are: (rear) Katie Milne, Barry Longland, Kevin Skinner, (front) Warren Polglase, Joan Van Lieshout, Phil Youngblutt and (inset) Dot Holdom.
WHICH one will lead us? Tweed councillors are: (rear) Katie Milne, Barry Longland, Kevin Skinner, (front) Warren Polglase, Joan Van Lieshout, Phil Youngblutt and (inset) Dot Holdom. Tweed Daily News

Mayor tight-lipped on replacement

TWEED mayor Joan van Lieshout appears to hold the trump card on who her replacement will be if, as expected, she is tossed out of the top job early next week.

But Tweed voters are being kept in the dark about who the replacement might be after some of the main players in the crucial vote yesterday went to ground.

Cr Joan van Lieshout and dep- uty mayor Barry Longland, who is tipped as one of the most likely contenders for the top job, were both yesterday bunkered down in meetings in the Council's Murwillumbah offices and not returning calls.

Other councillors are tipped to dump her at an annual vote for the mayoralty during their main monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Some are angry that she confronted Council general manager Mike Rayner earlier this year asking him to step down from his board position with the controversial Repco Rally Australia.

They were further angered that when Cr van Lieshout was later asked by the Tweed Daily News about the confrontation she confirmed it and publicly said she felt Mr Rayner had a conflict of interest.

Cr Longland is tipped to get support from retired cafe owner Cr Dot Holdom and Greens Party representative Cr Katie Milne. He needs just one more vote.

Former mayor Warren Polglase, whose council was sacked by the NSW Government in 2005 after allegations arising from donations by developers in the 2004 election, is keeping his cards close to his chest.

But he has strong backing from councillors Phil Youngblutt and Kevin Skinner.

The long-time National Party member also needs just one more vote to clinch the top job.

Cr van Lieshout, who stood on a Liberal Party ticket in the Council election, is a conservative colleague, whereas Cr Longland is considered a Labor Party sympathiser. However Cr van Lieshout has previously opposed a “return” to a Polglase-led council.

Asked if he would stand for the mayoralty Cr Polglase replied: “That's a decision I'm still contemplating”.

But Cr Polglase went on to say he “had a good track record in the past”, despite the views of political opponents.

“I've been through the political bastardry process of the Labor government,” he added.

“I'm quite comfortable with that and I got good support to be re-elected as a councillor.”

Cr Polglase said the mayoralty was “a very responsible position” and whoever took the job should have completed “an apprenticeship” in the council.

“I did an apprenticeship for about nine years,” he quipped.

Cr Phil Youngblutt said he would back Cr Polglase, but added: “It's up in the air. There are several councillors that want it. My choice would be Warren because he has the experience and that's needed in there at the moment.

“I think the executive would be pleased to see him back as mayor.”

Cr Skinner said: “I won't support anyone who voted for the down-zoning of Hastings Point.”

That decision to restrict building heights and densities in Hastings Point was opposed only by himself, Cr Polglase and Cr Youngblutt.

“It's an extremely important issue,” said Cr Skinner. “A man's home is his kingdom. His rights when he bought it should not be eroded by any level of government.”

Cr Milne and Cr Holdom were unavailable for comment.

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