How many voters get to elect the Mayor?
If you said 95,000, you’re wrong! In Georges River Council (like Hurstville and Kogarah Councils before it), the Mayor is elected by the Council, not the people. That means that the vast majority of residents have absolutely no say in the direction and priorities that the Mayor sets. Instead, the Mayoralty is decided in backroom deals by the sitting 15 Councillors. No experience necessary and no need to articulate your vision for the community because it inevitably comes down to “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”.
Previously, the term was only for one year (this has since been changed to two years for the amalgamated Council) – so for one year a Labor mayor would follow their agenda, and then the next year, it might be a Liberal Mayor who follows a completely different agenda. What this means is that Council has no long-term vision. Priorities only last as long as the Mayoral term, and there’s no continuity. This chop-and-change policy approach causes problems for both Council officers, who are constantly adjusting to the shifting Mayoral priorities, and for residents as well.
That’s why I’m calling for the Direct Election of the Mayor in Georges River Council. As local residents, we should have a say in who our Mayor is, and whoever is seeking election to this important role should publicly state what their priorities are for Council. That way, if they are elected, they have a four-year term in which to deliver their mandate and are ultimately responsible to the voters.
It’s time to put an end to political back-room deals to decide who our Mayor is and give the community the power to vote for the direction of our council.