Barham says she'll keep both jobs
BYRON Shire Mayor and Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council Jan Barham will stay in both her jobs, despite four state parliamentarians resigning their mayoral positions last week.
The mayors relinquishing their positions – from Camden, Fairfield, Hawkesbury and Lake Macquarie – said they could not adequately fulfil the responsibilities of both roles, and the conflicting schedules between Macquarie Street and their respective councils' chambers often meant having to be in two places at once.
Cr Barham has missed the last two council meetings and several committee gatherings, but will attend today's ordinary meeting.
“I accept that I have missed the past two meetings, but these other mayors have partners and a family which they are trying to juggle along with their work,” she said.
“I will no doubt miss some more council meetings this year, but I feel that I am coping with all my responsibilities.”
Cr Barham's fellow councillors, including traditional adversaries, appeared to support her choice and respect her dedication.
Another said it would not be worth the cost and inconvenience of a by-election 15 months out from council elections.
Cr Barham will be in Byron Shire this week, but flies back to Sydney next week.
“I'm coping with both jobs and I certainly have no intention to quit as mayor,” she said.
Cr Barham described her new position as a Greens MLC as “very interesting”.
“I am now able to take Byron's issues direct to Ministers and this is very valuable,” she said.
“It's a whole new landscape down there and I'm the only Green representing the North Coast.”