NOW that the election to decide the future of local government in the Mid Coast region is over, we come to the important issue of the election of the inaugural mayor.
The electoral system has given us a council of five candidates who achieved a quota on first preferences, a sixth candidate identified after 43 rounds of secondary preference allocation and random, computer-generated vote allocations, and over 60 such rounds to identify the final five.
This council is supposedly representative of the wishes and preferences of its ratepayers and residents - 12,000 didn’t bother to vote and over 12 per cent of votes were ruled informal.
Surely those councillors who achieved their seat through the late rounds of computer-driven, algorithm-based preference allocations could not argue that they had been given a mandate to stand for mayor.
The council is basically the heads of the "above the line groups". Will every issue be addressed from up to 10 different perspectives and philosophies? Will we see 10 or more candidates for mayor?
The new councillors will get their chance to show their constituents the genuine concern they have for the region during this week’s mayoral election.
Strong, competent leadership from our inaugural council and more importantly our inaugural mayor will determine whether a new standard of transparency and accountability can be achieved following the 18 month interim administration period.
We need a strong, experienced leader capable of positively influencing the MidCoast Council region and providing a clear path for the council staff. Let’s hope that such an individual can be recognised for their capabilities and for the good of the region.
This is not a time to confuse ambition with ability. The Mid Coast residents and ratepayers will now be holding the council and its professional staff accountable for their futures.
The first official meeting of the newly elected MidCoast Council will be held in Taree today at 2pm. The first task of the new council will be to elect a mayor and deputy mayor.