Jockeying starts for mayor's job

AS MANY as four Kyogle councillors could run for the mayor’s job at Monday’s council meeting.

Current mayor Ross Brown and former mayor Ernie Bennett have both indicated they definitely will stand for the annual election.

Current deputy mayor Lynette Zito said she would also run, if nominated, and Cr John O’Reilly said he was ‘seriously considering’ his position.

The role of Kyogle mayor has shifted between councillors Brown and Bennett for the past decade.

Cr Brown was mayor between 1999 and 2001 and from 2008, while Cr Bennett filled the role for the years in between.

As mayor, Cr Bennett took on a number of regional roles, including chairman of the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) and the Pacific Highway Taskforce.

Cr Brown has preferred to focus on issues closer to home, refusing to take on any regional positions.

Cr Brown said last week he was ‘still enjoying the job’ and would definitely be running for a third consecutive term as mayor.

“There are also a number of issues I want to see through, with the Repco rally being number one,” he said.

As mayor, Cr Brown has been involved in a host of high-level meetings over the past few weeks in a bid to ensure Rally Australia holds the Australian leg of the World Rally Championships on the Northern Rivers. Speculation has been rife the event may move to the Coffs Harbour region.

Cr Bennett said he had decided to stand for mayor again because he ‘really enjoys’ the job and had been asked by people in the community to throw his hat into the ring.

He conceded the council was ‘going on a reasonable path’ and there were not any stand-out issues.

Cr Zito said she had been asked to run for mayor and deputy mayor.

“I will run for both if I’m nominated,” she said.

“If elected mayor I will bring a new perspective to the position – a more socially inclusive perspective.”

Cr O’Reilly believes it’s time for a change at the top.

“I think the mayor and the previous mayor have had a fair run and it is forcing my hand to look at standing for the job,” he said.

“We need a change.”

Cr Robert Dwyer won’t be standing for either mayor or deputy mayor, but agrees ‘new blood’ is needed to take the council forward.

But he said with the current five-four voting block that was unlikely to happen.

Cr Lindsay Passfield isn’t interested in taking on either the mayor or deputy mayor’s position and has thrown his support behind Cr Brown and Cr Bennett.

He said council would be well served if either of the men was at the helm.

“Both have good business heads and have contributed to the very good financial situation the council is in,” Cr Passfield said.

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