Cr Conrad Bolton was elected Narrabri Shire Council mayor at today’s first meeting of the new Narrabri Shire Council.Two candidates contested the position,
Cr Bolton and the incumbent mayor, Cr Robyn Faber.There had been suggestions that up to four councillors would offer themselves for election.
Cr Bolton polled nine votes and Cr Faber three, supported by Crs Redding and Knox.
Cr Bevan O’Regan was elected deputy Mayor, also defeating Cr Redding nine votes to three.
Councillors voted overwhelmingly for a ‘show of hands’ for the mayoral vote.
Councillors at today’s first meeting were arranged in alternate ‘old and new’ configuration.
There are six new councillors and six sitting councillors and seating was organised that one ‘old hand’ was next to a new councillor.
The aim was to help the new councillors though the intricacies of procedure at meetings.
The general manager, Mr White, also advised councillors that a consultant, Mr Norm Turkington, would be coming to the Council Chambers on Wednesday to brief councillors on some of the technical, procedural and legislative issues they would deal with.
The returning officer for today’s mayoral elections was Council’s corporate Services Director, Mr Paul Wearne.
Proceedings were observed by a public gallery of twelve including former councillors and election candidates.
The public forum prelude to the meeting heard from three speakers urging council to support a motion from Cr O’Regan on coal and gas health issues.
First item on the agenda was to determine the voting method.
Cr Ken Flower argued that the vote for the mayor’s position should be by secret ballot.
However, his was the sole voice in support of a secret ballot among the 12 councillors and the ‘show of hands’ vote was adopted after a motion by Cr Redding, seconded by Cr O’Regan.
Mr Wearne advised that he was in receipt of two nominations for mayor and called, three times, for any further nominations.
There were only two, Cr Bolton and Cr Faber.
Following the election, Cr Bolton took the chair and thanked councillors for their support.
“We have the ability in this room to consolidate and turn Narrabri into a regional centre, and Narrabri Shire into the true heart of the North West” he said.
The Council moved on to the first business, the adoption of the structure of committees.
It was agreed that the current system of four general committees would remain.
They are the Finance and Governance Committee, Planning and Development, Public Infrastructure and Community Facilities and Roads and Fleet.
The committees will meet on the first Tuesday of each month as they did previously.
Ordinary meetings of the council will be held on the third Tuesday of each month.
Council adopted a recommendation in the Corporate Services Director’s report that the November 20 council meeting be held in Wee Waa.
Council and committee meetings will begin at 9am, not 10am as previously, Mr Wearne reminded councillors.
A series of public consultation meetings was endorsed for the coming year. The meetings will be held at Bellata, Boggabri, Narrabri, Gwabegar, Pilliga and Wee Waa.
Delegates to the myriad council committees were elected.
Some were contested, but most were procedural, with councillors opting to be delegates in special interest areas.
Cr O’Regan accepted the role of delegate on the Santos Community Consultative Committee.