City of Rockingham rejects proposal for residents to elect the Mayor

Council Chambers
Council Chambers

THE City of Rockingham Mayor will continue to be elected by councillors.

Councillor Lee Downham proposed council change the method, so residents could vote for who would become Mayor.

However, most councillors voted against the idea at Tuesday night’s council meeting. Councillor Downham’s notice of motion was defeated 2:7.

Of the 30 metropolitan councills, 17 have elector mayors and 13 have councillor mayors.

A report to council said an elector mayor could be elected on a single issue or with a different mandate to that of councillors.

The report said an elector mayor had a four-year term of office, which was a lengthy period before the community could voice dissatisfaction with the mayor’s performance via the ballot.

“The opportunity for council to elect its leader from among its members provides that the incumbent enjoys the support of the majority of their peers,” the report said.

“There are no compelling reasons to change what is currently an effective system of filling the office of mayor at the City of Rockingham.

“There have been no calls for a poll…nor has there been any underlying dissatisfaction expressed by the community in respect to the status quo.”

Councillor Matt Whitfield said while he personally was not in favour of changing the method, there was a significant increase in voter turnout when residents voted for the mayor.

Councillor Chris Elliott said it was essential the Mayor resonated with the council.

Councillor Katherine Summers said it was politically motivated and some members were “desperate to become Mayor.”

Cr Downham said he would not be running in the next Council election.