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March by-election

Wednesday, 5th January, 2011

By Andrew Robertson

Locals could choose a new councillor at the same time they go to the polls for the State Government election later this year.

Broken Hill Mayor Wincen Cuy yesterday confirmed that a by-election would be held following the death of Councillor Jamie Mitchell on Christmas Day.

Mayor Cuy said City Council had suggested to the NSW Electoral Commission that the byelection be held on March 26, the same day as the NSW election.

He said it made sense to hold both on the same day even though it meant the by-election would fall one day outside the period it should be held.

The mayor said that under the NSW Local Government Act a byelection must be held within three months of the vacancy.

“It’s up to the Electoral Commission to call it (the by-election),” Mayor Cuy said. “We’ve notified them and requested that could be a possible date.”

Using the State election date would also result in a “substantial saving” to Council, which pays for the by-election, according to Mayor Cuy.

The council does not have the option of not holding a by-election because the next Local Government elections are at least 12 months away.

But it would escape holding one if only one person nominated for the position, said Mayor Cuy, who also ruled out reducing the number of councillors.

“We’ve already reduced the number from 12 to 10,” he said. “I think in respect to Jamie he would want to have his position filled.” 

Councillor Mitchell, who was elected in 2009, suffered from Cerebral Palsy and was a long-time campaigner for the disabled.

He was 39 when he died in Broken Hill following a brief illness. 

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