Stirling residents renew calls for popularly elected mayor

Stirling residents renew calls for popularly elected mayor

RESDIENTS have renewed calls for the City of Stirling mayor to be elected by the people with two petitions presented to City of Stirling council on Tuesday.

Councillor Samantha Jenkinson presented a 280-signature petition spearheaded by Karrinyup resident Leisha Jack calling on the City to allow electors rather than councillors to elect the mayor.

“We believe that it would be more democratic and less controversial if City of Stirling electors could vote and decide who will be mayor, rather than councillors deciding,” she said.

“If the process is not decided early in 2017, it will not allow candidates time to prepare their campaigns for the Local Government Elections in October 2017.”

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

Cr Elizabeth Re tabled a petition from Woodlands residents with 181 signatures and said a direct election of mayor would better represent the people of Stirling.

Ms Jack said because of the size of Stirling wards the popularly elected mayor system would make more sense.

“In some Perth councils, councillors only have 5 or 10 thousand residents to try and represent,” she said.

“In Stirling the wards have around 20,000 people to try and represent.

“We believe Perth’s largest council should have a dedicated mayor to better enable the mayor to focus on the best interests of ratepayers and residents and modern complexities of Local Government procedures.”

Mayor Giovanni Italiano said the issue of mayoral elections was voted on four years ago.

“This comes up from time to time and it was voted on four years ago by the council,” he said.

“It was decided at the time to remain with the status quo and was outvoted 12-2.

“However, we will review this again at a councillor workshop early next year.”

Ms Jack said she would continue to build the campaign through the Stirling Community Matters Facebook page and collect signatures, which will be presented at the first council meeting of 2017 on February 7.

Councils where ratepayers directly elect the mayor include Perth, Vincent, Cambridge, Joondalup, Canning, South Perth, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie and Albany.