Gosnells council emphatically against idea of popularly-elected mayor

City of Gosnells.
City of Gosnells.

THE City of Gosnells has emphatically re-affirmed their commitment to a council-elected mayor.

Councillors voted against a motion for chief executive Ian Cowie to prepare a report discussing the advantages and disadvantages of a Council-elected and popularly-elected mayor.

While Gosnells councillors currently vote for a mayor every two years, the Local Government Act also provides for the election of mayors by the community at large.

Mayor Glenn Dewhurst had proposed the motion following community feedback, but the councillors believed the report was unnecessary and voted against the motion 10-1.

Councillor Ron Mitchell said a similar report was prepared two years ago and nothing had changed since then, so he did not want to waste the chief executive’s time.

Councillor David Goode said the council was perfectly able to judge who would be the best fit for mayor.

He argued a popular figure in the community could feasibly run for council and be elected mayor by the people, despite having little knowledge of local government policy.

However, councillor Olwen Searle supported the idea of a popularly-elected mayor and said council and staff would be strong enough to steer the mayor in the right direction.Chief executive Ian Cowie warned council if they were to change the method of electing the mayor, it was far easier to hand the power to the people than it was to change back.

Mr Cowie noted any council wishing to change the method from popular vote to council vote would require a public referendum, with the outcome decided by the majority.