People want to choose mayor

The recent local government elections have again stirred debate about mayoral voting processes.

“It is possible for a council to seek to have the method of election changed,” Mr Simpson said.

“I have not had strong representations from the public, or from the local government sector, seeking changes to make the system for electing the mayor uniform.

“Councils that directly elect the mayor include Perth, Cambridge, Joondalup, Wanneroo, Canning, South Perth, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie and Albany. Carnarvon has the only directly elected shire president in the State.”

Councils can choose to adopt one of two systems for mayoral elections; voters directly elect the mayor or councillors decide.

The Local Government Act outlines the process by which either a council or a local community can change the method of voting in their mayor.

The 2011 Robson Report recommended all mayors and shire presidents be directly elected by the community.

The WA Local Government Association and State Government did not support this recommendation, saying the current system offered flexibility to meet the needs of the community and councils.

WALGA president Lynne Craigie said the organisation supported either process.

“The processes in place that allow for either the public or the council to implement a change to their leadership election process provide flexibility for individual councils and their communities to choose a method that best suits them, and change it over time if required,” Cr Craigie said.

City of Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano said the City worked on the ‘elected within’ selection process, where the 14 councillors vote for the mayor.

“The method of voting in a mayor and deputy mayor has been reviewed from time to time over the years and the decision was made by the current council that the status quo remains for the mayor to be ‘elected within’,” Cr Italiano said.

“It is critical that a mayor has the support of council, particularly when voting on critical developments.

“Support indicates a unified council and a unified council ensures that progress occurs and decisions of critical importance to the City are made with a unified voice.”