City of Belmont councillors vote against changing method to elect mayor

DEBATE raged at last night’s City of Belmont meeting about the best method for the mayor to be elected.

The current process is for councillors to elect the mayor following each election but a motion from councillor Lauren Cayoun sought to give electors the opportunity to vote directly.

After lengthy debate, the motion was lost narrowly 5-4.

Earlier in the meeting, Cr Cayoun pointed towards a referendum in the City of Stirling during October’s local government elections, in which electors voted that they wanted to elect their mayor directly.

She said City of Belmont was in the minority in terms of its processes and it should allow residents to choose the leader.

Cr George Sekula spoke in support of the motion and said it was not a reflection of former mayors or current mayor Phil Marks.

Crs Steve Wolff and Janet Powell both spoke against the motion, with the former arguing there was no evidence that a directly elected mayor was better but it had the greater chance for “dysfunction” to occur within a council.

Cr Robert Rossi said he did not disagree with either side but pointed to issues at the City of Perth.

The officer’s report outlined several occasions during which the issue had previously been debated, which included in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2016.

When the issue was debated in February 2016, a motion to allow electors to vote for the mayor directly was also lost 5-4.

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