To: Bland Shire Councillors
Community to elect Mayor.
Dear Councillors of the Bland
Currently the Bland Shire Mayor is voted in by only 5 or more fellow councillors annually. We request that council pass a motion to decide by referendum if this current method is to continue or be replaced by the voting community in a democratic election every 4 years. The NSW electoral commission clearly state that a referendum can be run at any time. As such we request that this referendum be held in sufficient time to allow us to vote for our mayor in the 2016 council election.
Why is this important?
In 35 NSW councils the people vote for their mayor. A further 3 councils held referenda at the 2012 elections to do likewise in 2016. These communities all voted yes by a sound majority. The residents of the Young district are currently petitioning for the same rights.
The reasoning is sound and straight forward. A community votes for what a candidate can do for the district whereas a councillor votes for how a candidate can help fellow councillor's with their own agendas.
To gain this right first a motion needs to be carried in a council meeting in order that a referendum is held. This referendum can then be run at any time to see if the community want to elect their mayor. When the referendum is won in favour of democratic election, the community can then elect their own mayor at the next election.
In some Shires the existing councillors and particularly the Mayor give this referendum their full support. They know that through their proven attitudes and abilities they are likely to retain their positions. They accept that a mayor should be elected on community ideals not backroom deals. Not all NSW Councils share this well-earned confidence.
The Bland Shire Mayor and Deputy Mayor say they oppose the election. Election candidate and retired council dog-catcher Barry Cooper refused to sign the petition and wrote “no way” on the petition before a group of petitioners at one location. Several other Bland Councillors do support the idea of a popularly elected mayor and several are undecided. It only takes 5 councillors to pass the motion requested by the petition. This petition is to make all councillors aware that the overwhelming majority of the people of The Bland want to publicly elect their Mayor.
The abovementioned motion was put to the Bland Shire Council CEO several days before the April 16 council meeting by Cr. Monaghan so that it may be tabled and voted on. For reasons still unclear the motion was not tabled at that meeting. This in no way affects the opportunity to vote for mayor in 2016. The motion just needs to be carried with enough time to allow for the referendum to be run and ballot papers to be arranged before the 2016 Election Day. At the current rate of petition signing the community pressure should be overwhelming by then.
For those with no internet access please let them know that they can sign or pick up a hard-copy for others to at numerous locations across the district including the Bland Medical Centre (BMC). Full petition sheets can be dropped off at The Empire 174 Main St. West Wyalong or faxed to 69724879. Or contact the page administrator of this web page and a fresh petition sheet will be faxed/mailed/emailed to you.
How it will be delivered
A copy of the petition will be presented to the West Wyalong Advocate and Council prior to the motion to hold a referendum being tabled before council.