Push to let the people elect mayor
TWEED voters could face a referendum on whether they want to choose their mayor, rather than leave the decision to councillors.
Greens councillor Katie Milne plans to ask next week's council meeting to "instigate the process for a referendum on the community's preference for a popularly elected or councillor-elected mayor".
The referendum would most likely be held in conjunction with the council election in September next year, with any change unlikely to take place until the following election in 2016.
The move follows last month's council meeting at which councillors elected Barry Longland, their fourth different mayor in as many years. Cr Longland followed councillors Kevin Skinner, Warren Polglase and Joan van Lieshout.
Cr Joan van Lieshout has previously pushed for a referendum and prior to last month's vote Cr Skinner revealed he had come to support the idea of a popularly elected mayor.
A referendum is required before the council can change the election system. Nearby councils including Gold Coast City, Byron Shire and Lismore City have popularly elected mayors.
Yesterday Cr Longland said he had been in favour of making the change since the 2009 mayoral vote by councillors, which led to a three-all draw after Cr van Lieshout declined to vote.
Cr Polglase was then chosen after a draw from a cardboard box.
"I stated then I was in favour of a popularly elected mayor," Cr Longland said.
"I'm the fourth mayor in four years. I think it would provide more stability to enable a person to settle into the job."
Last month then mayor, Cr Skinner, revealed he had changed his mind and was now in favour of the reform.
He predicted the issue would be again put before the council prior to the council election in September next year.
Cr Skinner said his time in the job had shown him "whether the mayor is popularly elected or elected by the voters does not make a lot of difference" to how the mayor would work with other councillors.