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Sole nominee doesn't count his chickens

Tuesday, 19th January, 2010

*John Groenendijk looks like he will be the city's new Deputy Mayor. *John Groenendijk looks like he will be the city's new Deputy Mayor.

The deputy mayor is elected by the councillors and acts as mayor when Wincen Cuy is unavailable.

Mr Cuy won the position of mayor with more than 30 per cent of the vote, while councillors, in order of vote ranking were, Neville Gasmier, John Groenendijk, Bob Algate, Darriea Turley, Marion Browne, Ray Steer, Tom Kennedy, Christine Adams and Jamie Mitchell.

John Groenendijk yesterday confirmed he wanted to be the city's number two man. He said the polling results showed him the public supported him in a leadership role. "The reason I'm standing is I'd be strong support for Wincen," Mr Groenendijk said.

"We work very well together and what's important is we have a cohesive team for Council. "If you look at the election results themselves, the people want me in a leadership role." Despite this support, Mr Groenendijk said the race for deputy mayor was totally different.

While he did confirm he had had discussions with his councillor colleagues he added that the decision on who was elected would happen tonight. "It's a totally different ball game. It is within Council rather than as a community," he said. "It's a matter of having enough of the councillors support me. Of course, yes, I've had support from many of them but it depends on what happens on the night. It's what happens (then) that counts."

While there are rumours, Neville Gasmier would not confirm that he would run for deputy mayor."The meeting will transpire as it does," he said. Meanwhile Bob Algate will not nominate. In addition to saying he needed to manage his time effectively and that he would not rule out putting his hand up next year, Mr Algate said he would find it hard to work closely with Mr Cuy.

"You have to be realistic," he said. "We're certainly not enemies but we are at odds in .. some of our beliefs. "I would find it difficult until I get to know him better to work along side him and you have to give him your full support and I don't know if I could do that at this stage." Mr Algate said his support would be for someone with previous local government experience.

"I have been approached by three people," he said. "Whether that transpires tomorrow night, we'll see. "If they do stand, two out of those three have experience. "I won't vote for anyone who doesn't have any experience." Darriea Turley said due to a raft of other commitments, she won't stand but left open the possibility of standing before the three-year term ended.

"Being the national chair of the Australian Local Government Women's Association and the vice chair of the Year of Local Women in Government I feel as though I could not fully commit to the position just yet," said Ms Turley, who has twice before been deputy mayor. "I may look at that again in the future."

Despite being unable to attend tonight's meeting, she said the person who was elected needed prior experience in local government."It's imperative that someone is able to fully support our new mayor Wincen Cuy," she said."But whoever is voted in has my full support." Marion Browne, who is also a former deputy mayor, said she won't be contesting."Not at the moment, no," she said. "No particular reason. I've been deputy mayor before, it's just not my position." Mrs Browne said despite Mr Groenendijk having good polling in the mayoral race the election of deputy mayor was a different .

"I don't know if that's quite as relevant in choosing a deputy mayor," she said. "I think experience in this case, particularly experience of local government, is important, but also in chairing meetings, meeting procedures is also important and some knowledge of local issues." Former deputy mayor Ray Steer will not be putting his hat in the ring due to work commitments. "After 12 months it's a possibility. I've been deputy mayor before and you've got to share things around," Mr Steer said.

"I teach as well and I've got the shop and I'm on Council - it's very time consuming." Christine Adams, who is a first-time councillor, said she would not nominate for deputy mayor. "As a first time councillor I'd prefer to wait until I had more experience," she said. Jamie Mitchell also won't enter the contest. Mr Mitchell said he wanted to learn more about Council's rules first, and he believed the people had spoken.

"It's a bit too early I think," he said. "I'll sit back and learn a bit more of the rules and regulations and have a go later. "I'll be supporting John Groenendijk - the Broken Hill people wanted Winny and him." Tom Kennedy had no comment to make to the BDT.

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