City of Rockingham mayor Barry Sammels re-elected after only rival tries to withdraw candidacy at the last minute

City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels.
City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels.

BARRY Sammels will extend his run as the Perth metropolitan area’s longest serving mayor after his City of Rockingham colleagues re-elected him for another term at the helm last night.

Cr Sammels, who has been mayor for 14 years, emerged victorious despite a shock announcement from only rival, Baldivis councillor Matt Whitfield, who tried to withdraw his nomination at the last minute.

Cr Whitfield was the first to outline his reasons for wanting to be mayor to fellow councillors, which included an accusation that the City administration staff made major decisions rather than the council.

He then committed an about face and tried to withdraw his candidacy.

“I admit to being an anomaly; I am not the stereotypical political animal,” he said.

“I am open and transparent and guilty of identifying millions of dollars of savings. I am guilty of taking the role seriously.

“I believe the administration is in charge for the last four years and this has to stop.”

A moment of confusion ensued with chief executive Andrew Hammond calling a five minute recess to consult local government laws to check any ramifications of the withdrawal.

Upon returning to the chambers, Mr Hammond said for Cr Whitfield to withdraw there needed to be a ballot.

Cr Whitfield conceded a ballot was not needed and the vote went ahead as planned, with Cr Sammels emerging successful 6-1, with three informal votes.

Cr Whitfield and Cr Joy Stewart also nominated for deputy mayor, however incumbent Deb Hamblin retained the position with five votes, ahead of Cr Whitfield’s four and Cr Stewart on one.

During selection for committee positions, Cr Lee Downham complained several timesa bout councillors serving on committees for too long.

“Some of these committees have had some people on for a significant amount of time,” he said.

“Let other people have a go.

“I am probably the only one with auditing experience and I deal with governance at work in my business.

“Crs (Leigh) Liley and Hamblin have been on (the auditing committee) a lot; give someone else a go.

“It’s about time things got rotated.”

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