City of Vincent: Mayor election could cause headache for council

Vincent Mayor John Carey will step down in January.
Vincent Mayor John Carey will step down in January.

AN attempt to keep extraordinary election costs down for ratepayers could backfire for the City of Vincent.

Mayor John Carey announced in December that he would step down as mayor at the end of this month so an election for his role could coincide with the already scheduled February 24 extraordinary election – saving ratepayers thousands of dollars.

The election was scheduled to find a replacement for former South Ward councillor Laine McDonald, who left the council in August to replace Labor MLC Ken Travers.

However, with Councillor Emma Cole throwing her hat in the ring for Mayor, the City may end up holding a second extraordinary election in another four months if she wins the top job.

Vincent acting chief executive Michael Quirk said Vincent was faced with two options.

“Under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1995, Council would have the option to request permission from the WA Electoral Commissioner to hold the vacancy open until the ordinary election on October 21, 2017,” he said.

“As Cr Cole’s current term will end in October 2017, this option would result in no additional cost.

“If an extraordinary election were to be held, it would need to occur in May or June 2017 and would cost approximately $37,000.”

Cr Cole, from Mt Hawthorn, was elected in 2013 and is the chairwoman of the children and young people advisory group, deputy chairwoman of the audit committee, a member of the environmental advisory group and alternative member of the Development Assessment Panel.

She said if elected as Mayor, she would focus on expanding public open space within Vincent.

Mr Carey is the Labor candidate for the Perth electorate in the March State elections.