SHOCK DECISION: Why our “remarkable” mayor resigned
UPDATE 8:40AM: Lismore City Council has issued a formal comment regarding Mayor Isaac Smith's announcement of his retirement after more than 12 years serving on Lismore City Council.
Cr Smith said he was leaving to focus on his career within the non-government sector. His retirement from Lismore City Council will be effective from 1 February 2021.
"Just prior to COVID-19, I was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of a local NGO, which is a very time-consuming and demanding role. I accepted the position as I had planned to retire at the now postponed local government elections in mid-2020," he said.
"With elections now delayed until September next year due to the pandemic, I think it's in the best interests of our community that someone else takes up the role of Mayor who can give it the attention it needs and deserves."
Councillor Smith was first elected to Council in 2008 and was voted in as Lismore's Mayor in 2016.
"I have greatly enjoyed serving as a Councillor and in particular as Mayor. It was a term peppered with challenges following flood, drought, fire and pandemic, but I have always been humbled by the support I have received, and I would like to thank the community for that," he said.
Deputy Mayor Neil Marks will be acting Mayor until Councillors meet on 9 February 2021 to elect an interim Mayor.
"I would like to thank my fellow Councillors, Council staff and the current executive team who have transformed the organisation, making it ready for the next 20 years," Cr Smith said.
"The last 12 months have been particularly tough for all Councillors and the community. But we have always rallied together, and just as we will recover from last week's flash flooding, we have emerged stronger and more determined to make Lismore an even better place to live, work and raise a family.
"Both I and my fellow Councillors have had to make many tough and at times controversial decisions over the last year, but they were always made in the best interests of our community.
"The result of those decisions is that this year we have posted a significant financial turnaround. This means we are now in the position where we, as a community, can control our own destiny.
"As a born and bred local, I love our wonderful community and I see a great future ahead for our city and its villages. I leave satisfied that I have left Lismore City Council better than I found it and I have complete confidence in the Councillors and staff for the coming year."
In a shock decision Lismore mayor Isaac Smith has resigned his office.
It is understood Cr Smith wishes to to concentrate on his business and family and said in a document seen by the Northern Star that this was "a difficult decision but a necessary one."
Cr Smith will remain in the role until January 31, 2021 and councillors will elect a new mayor among themselves at the February 2021 meeting.
Cr Smith's decision to step down makes him the third councillor to leave office at Lismore this year after councillors Gianpierro Battista and Greg Bennett both resigned in August.
Former mayor Jenny Dowell said Cr Smith, "will leave a remarkable legacy."
"I really feel for him and Lismore and I can understand his decision," she said.
"He has had a tough term of mayor which includes and the financial challenges and that of a very divided council."
Ms Dowell said the increased pressure which came from social media is also an increasingly serious issues.
She said also the salary of mayor is not enough.
"A young mayor needs to have another job as the income is not sufficient to support a family," she said.
"And you have to be able to balance family, personal and a work life along with the 24 hour mayor responsibilities."
Ms Dowell said Mr Smith's term in office will be remembered as being "remarkable."
"Isaac always had the community front and centre and was there to communicate the good and bad news," she said,
"I wish him well and I hope he gets some peace."
.It is understood Lismore City Council will issue a formal statement later today.