Mayor to be directly elected

Mayor to be directly elected

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Change is coming to City of Gosnells elections and meetings – whether the city likes it or not.

The Local Government Reform package, spearheaded by Local Government Minister John Carey, will force local governments across the state to face changes.

For Gosnells, the major changes will be mandatory livestreaming, and the direct election of the mayor.

The city has never directly elected a mayor, and mayor Terresa Lyons said there were risks inherent in the process.

“I’m not sure how ratepayers will respond, they’ve never had to do it before but I’m sure they’re more than capable.

“There’s a level of competitiveness with a directly elected mayor that people can become uncomfortable with, and I think in other local governments, considerable funding is spent by candidates to become elected so that means only those with plenty of money to give up are in with a chance to win and I think that’s a disappointing part of it.

“The other issue is direct elect mayors that come in and don’t know a single thing about local government.

“If they want to go down the path of directly elected mayors, they should at least have a requirement that they’ve served on council for a couple of years prior, but I’m not sure that will happen.”

Cr Lynes doesn’t believe the shift to compulsory livestreaming will be an issue, given the city has been recording meetings for some-time.

She is also a firm advocate for new rules that will see a three-month suspension for councillors convicted of major breaches of the Local Government Act, rising to a ten-year-ban for a third offence.

It’s something she would like to see applied, albeit at a different level, to minor breaches.

“Absolutely agree with it, there should be tougher penalties for breaches of the act.

“The areas between what’s minor and what’s a breach are so grey, but I think if you get done for a minor breach there should be a monetary penalty, or time off – they need to have something of consequence behind them. “