REVEALED: Mayor makes a call as elections postponed
AFTER tossing up whether or not she would stand for another term at the September elections, the matter has been taken out of the Mayor's hands...for now.
The NSW Government has postponed the September local government elections for 12 months to September 2021.
Speaking with the Advocate this week, Mayor Denise Knight revealed she recently made up her mind to contest the September 2020 election.
"A few weeks ago I decided I would probably run, but I wanted to speak to my family and close friends before I announced," Clr Knight said.
Local Government Minister Hon. Shelley Hancock MP alerted Councils late last week about the move to postpone the elections.
"To provide certainty to councils, communities and potential candidates, the NSW Government has made the decision in the face of the COVID-19 crisis," Ms Hancock said.
Mayor Knight says she feels for those Councillors and Mayors across the State who were ready to retire in September particularly given their older demographic.
"That's 18 months away. I have absolute respect for Shelley Hancock, and think she is an amazing Minister, but September 2021 is a really long way away.
"You don't know what life holds for you. People have families or health issues, you just don't know what will happen.
"It means current Councillors will serve for five years and it's my understanding that the next round of Councillors will be serving just three years."
She says a postponement to March next year may have been more appropriate.
It's been a tough 12 months for Cr Knight who has copped a great deal of criticism - at times quite personal - over her support for the $76.5m Cultural and Civic Space.
The proposal has divided councillors four:four on several occasions with Cr Knight sometimes using her casting vote to progress the project.
After being absent from meetings for almost a year Councillor Jan Strom made the decision to resign from Council in March last year based on medical advice leaving the even number and a potential for tied votes.
For now she is focused on leading the community as it faces the unprecedented threat of COVID-19.
"We're hurting and broken and will need to repair and be optimistic as we work together on a recovery plan."
At last week's Council meeting she announced a support package to help alleviate the impacts on local businesses and the community.
"It took a very long time, with the help of staff, to pull it all together."
"I am focusing on recovery and trying to lead up by example. I have neighbours I am ringing and checking on every day.
"We will get through this."